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

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGideon holds 3-point lead over Collins in new poll The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - One week out, where the Trump, Biden race stands The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day 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 GarlandWhat a Biden administration should look like McConnell and Schumer's relationship shredded after court brawl Bitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court 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 John TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline MORE is expected to name his nominee to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgPence seeks to lift GOP in battle for Senate 'Packing' federal courts is already a serious problem McConnell and Schumer's relationship shredded after court brawl 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 McConnellMcConnell: Battle for Senate 'a 50-50 proposition' 'Packing' federal courts is already a serious problem What a Biden administration should look like 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 GrahamLate donor surges push election spending projections to new heights Pence seeks to lift GOP in battle for Senate Wall Street backed Biden campaign with million in 2020 cycle: report 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 RomneyThe spectre of pension failures haunts this election The Memo: Five reasons why Trump could upset the odds Will anyone from the left realize why Trump won — again? MORE (R-Utah), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerDemocrats brace for nail-biting finish to Senate battle Trump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 spending wars | Biden looks to clean up oil comments | Debate ratings are in MORE (R-Colo.) and Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyBarrett confirmation stokes Democrats' fears over ObamaCare On The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Grassley: Voters should be skeptical of Biden's pledge to not raise middle class taxes 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 MurkowskiAlaska Senate race sees cash surge in final stretch Bitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day 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.