Susan Collins Breaks With Fellow Republicans, Says Supreme Court Vacancy Should Not Be Filled Before Election

Sen. Susan Collins attends a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee hearing in Washington, DC.
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On Saturday, in a statement published on Twitter — seen here — Sen. Susan Collins of Maine broke with fellow Republicans, saying that the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should not be filled prior to the November election.

“In order for the American people to have faith in their elected officials, we must act fairly and consistently — no matter which political party is in power,” Collins wrote, pointing out that President Donald Trump “has the constitutional authority” to make a nomination.

However, she noted that the United States Senate should not vote on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee so close to the November contest.

“Given the proximity of the presidential election, however, I do not believe that the Senate should vote on the nominee prior to the election.”

All Americans, she concluded, should have a say in the decision.

“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 stated.

Ginsburg, who was 87, passed away on Friday from complications caused by pancreatic cancer. A vicious partisan battle erupted hours after her death, with Democrats and Republicans feuding over whether the GOP-controlled upper chamber has the right to vote on her replacement.

Per Fox News, in a statement released immediately after news of Ginsburg’s passing broke, Collins praised the Justice as a “trailblazer” but stayed silent on filling the vacancy. Local press contacted the senator’s office, but her representatives declined to comment on the issue.

Collins, who has occasionally broken ranks with her party, has served in the upper chamber since 1997. In 2018, Democrats hoped that she would express opposition to confirming Justice Brett Kavanaugh — who was accused of sexual assault by multiple women — to the Supreme Court.

Collins supported Kavanaugh’s nomination and now has to fend off a formidable Democratic challenger, Sara Gideon. Recent polling suggests that she is trailing Gideon by 5 percentage points.

As Fox News noted, it remains unclear whether voting to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court pick would harm or improve Collins’ chances of keeping her seat.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Susan Collins depart the U.S. Capitol for a briefing at the White House.
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Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have signaled that they want to move forward with filling the vacated Supreme Court seat as quickly as possible.

In a statement released on Saturday, Trump called on the GOP to start the process “without delay.” A day earlier, McConnell expressed similar sentiments, saying that the commander-in-chief’s pick will be voted on, even though Americans will cast their ballots in only 44 days.