Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who is facing a tight reelection in Maine, announced Sunday she will join Democrats in voting against Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's final confirmation on Monday in order to be "fair and consistent," according to a statement obtained by NBC News.
"Because this vote is occurring prior to the election, I will vote against the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett," Collins said in a statement. "To be clear, my vote does not reflect any conclusion that I have reached about Judge Barrett’s qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court. What I have concentrated on is being fair and consistent, and I do not think it is fair nor consistent to have a Senate confirmation vote prior to the election."
Collins, who is now expected to be the only Republican to vote against Trump's pick to the high court, is the last GOP holdout against filling the vacant seat in the midst of the 2020 election, in which more than 50 million people have already voted early.
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska had also voted against advancing the nominee prior to the presidential election but ultimately joined her GOP colleagues, announcing Saturday she would vote to confirm Barrett, saying, “While I oppose the process that has led us to this point, I do not hold it against her."
Collins has repeatedly said she does not support filling the vacant seat ahead of the election, arguing that whoever is declared winner should choose the nominee to fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The Maine senator first took that stance on Sept. 19, just one day after RBG died, saying at the time the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by whoever is elected on Nov. 3, in fairness to the American people.
Citing President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland eight months before the 2016 presidential election, Collins said in a statement that it is particularly important for politicians to act fairly and consistently, using the same set of rules, no matter which political party is in power.
Notably, this year's vacancy occurred much closer to the election than it did in 2016, Collins said.
Despite objections from Democrats, Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Sunday to advance Barrett toward final confirmation with less than 10 days until the presidential election. With a 53-47 GOP majority, Barrett’s confirmation is almost certain.
Collins, who’s seeking a fifth term, is being challenged by Democrat Sara Gideon, speaker of the Maine House.