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Collins says she will vote 'no' on Supreme Court nominee before election

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsFor Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief Limbaugh falsely says Biden didn't win legitimately while reacting to inauguration Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief MORE (R-Maine), who is facing a tough reelection bid, said on Tuesday that she will vote against a Supreme Court nominee if one is brought to the Senate floor before the November election.

"My statement was a model of clarity. ... I made it very clear, yes, that I did not think there should be a vote prior to the election," Collins told reporters when asked if she would oppose a nominee before the election. 

Collins added that her decision was based not on the nominee but on the proximity to the election and the decision by Republicans in 2016 to refuse to move forward with Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandSchumer and McConnell trade places, but icy relationship holds Biden's new challenge: Holding Trump accountable Graham says he'll back Biden's CIA pick MORE, then-President Obama's Supreme Court nominee. 

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"If there is [a vote], I would oppose the nominee, not because I might not support that nominee under normal circumstances, but we're simply too close to the election, and in the interest of being fair to the American people — and consistent since it was with the Garland nomination that the decision was made not to proceed, a decision that I disagreed with, but my position did not prevail — I now think we need to play by the same set of rules," she said.

President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism MORE is expected to name his nominee to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgNYC street and subway signs transformed to welcome Biden, bid farewell to Trump Schumer and McConnell trade places, but icy relationship holds Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader MORE's Supreme Court seat on Saturday, teeing off a weeks-long explosive fight to confirm the pick, which is expected to lock in a 6-3 conservative majority on the court for generations. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial McConnell proposes postponing impeachment trial until February For Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief MORE (R-Ky.) has vowed that he will give whomever Trump picks a vote on the Senate floor this year but has declined to say if that vote will take place before the election. 

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial Democrats formally elect Harrison as new DNC chair McConnell proposes postponing impeachment trial until February MORE (R-S.C.) is expected to announce the schedule for a hearing quickly after Trump's announcement, which McConnell said on Tuesday will inform his decision on floor timing. Graham told Fox News on Monday night that he would schedule the Judiciary Committee hearings in a way that would allow for a vote on the Senate floor before the election. 

McConnell appears to have locked in the support within his caucus to hold a vote before the election, with swing-vote Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyFor Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief GOP senator calls Biden's COVID-19 relief plan a 'non-starter' MORE (R-Utah), Cory GardnerCory GardnerOvernight Defense: Joint Chiefs denounce Capitol attack | Contractors halt donations after siege | 'QAnon Shaman' at Capitol is Navy vet Lobbying world Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (R-Colo.) and Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyFinance Committee vote on Yellen nomination scheduled for Friday Democrats swear in three senators to gain majority Yellen champions big spending at confirmation hearing MORE (R-Iowa) indicating they were on board with moving the nominee before Nov. 3. 

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Only two GOP senators — Collins and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiFor Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief The Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' MORE (Alaska) — have said they do not believe the Senate should take up a nomination before the November election. A spokeswoman for Murkowski didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about if she will vote against a nominee if McConnell brings one to the floor before Nov. 3. 

Collins, in a statement on Saturday, said that whoever wins the presidential election should be able to fill the seat but did not directly address how she would vote if Republicans tried to move a nomination before the election. 

"Given the proximity of the presidential election ... I do not believe that the Senate should vote on the nominee prior to the election. In fairness to the American people, who will either be re-electing the President or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd," Collins said in her statement. 

Updated at 3:50 p.m.