Sen. Susan Collins of Maine says she will vote against any Supreme Court nominee who is brought to the Senate floor for confirmation before the Nov. 3 presidential election.

The Republican senator made her position clear Tuesday after reporters in Washington, D.C., questioned her in a hallway of the U.S. Capitol building.

Her response Tuesday was in line with a statement that Collins, who is in a tight re-election race with Democrat Sara Gideon, made Saturday when she said that confirming a Supreme Court nominee before the election would be unfair because voters could elect Democrat Joe Biden as their new president.

President Trump is insisting that the process move quickly following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last Friday. Ginsburg will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol on Friday, the first woman ever to be given that honor. Trump has vowed to nominate her successor by Saturday.

“Given the proximity of the presidential election, however, 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 the statement released Saturday. Collins said, however, that she would not object if the Senate Judiciary Committee began its review of the nominee’s credentials.

Reporters approached Collins Tuesday shortly after Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, a possible Republican holdout, announced he would be open to voting to confirm a Supreme Court nominee before the election.


Romney’s stance likely gives Trump the votes he needs even if Collins votes against the nominee. Republicans hold the majority in the Senate with 53 seats, which means that four Republicans would have to break from their party to stop the confirmation of a justice before the election. Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are the only Republicans who have said they will oppose voting before Nov. 3.

Collins’ staff released a transcript of what she told reporters Tuesday. “I’ve made it very clear, yes, that I did not believe there should be a vote prior to the election, and if there is one I would oppose the nominee not because I might not support that nominee under normal circumstance, but we’re simply too close to the election,” Collins said.

“And in the interest of being fair to the American people, and consistent, since it was, with the (Merrick) Garland nomination that the decision was made not to proceed, a decision that I disagreed with, but my position did not prevail,” Collins said. “I now think we need to play by the same set of rules.”

Collins’ position angered the president, who told Fox News on Monday that Collins is “very badly hurt” by her position.

In April 2016, seven months before Trump was elected president, Collins went on record saying that former President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court should proceed to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Collins met privately with Garland for more than an hour in 2016. Following that meeting, Collins released a statement that read, “My meeting today with Judge Garland left me more convinced than ever that the process should proceed.”

But Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell never brought Garland’s nomination forward, and when Trump won the election he nominated and the Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

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