PORTLAND

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins says she expects President Barack Obama to name a successor to the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and for the Senate to vet the nominee.

She had said previously that it was premature to discuss a successor before Scalia’s funeral, which happened over the weekend. Now, she’s making clear that she expects Obama to pick a nominee and for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on the nomination.

“I believe that we should follow the regular order in this process and take this process one step at a time, as we always do under the regular order,” she said.

Her statement puts her at odds with many of her fellow Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., contends the next president should select a court nominee. Both McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, pointed out Monday that Vice President Joe Biden had advocated in 1992, when he was Judiciary Committee chairman, for keeping a Supreme Court seat vacant during a lame-duck presidency.

Collins said it’s not unusual to have tension over judicial nominees.

She was one of 14 senators who helped to break a logjam over judicial nominees from then-President George W. Bush in 2005. She also pointed out that Obama, as a senator, tried to block the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who was nominated by Bush.

She said she’d give the nominee her full and fair consideration.

“This is the approach I have taken with every judicial nominee who has come before me, some of whom I have supported and some of whom I have voted against. Should the president send the Senate a nominee, I will give that individual my full attention as I always have done,” she said.



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