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GOP Sen. Collins: Senate Should Hold 'Public Hearings' On Obama SCOTUS Nominee

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Collins told CNN on Monday that the Senate should proceed "one step at a time," but added that she would consider Obama's nominee.

"For my part, it's clear that the President can send up a nominee -- regardless of where he is before he leaves office," she told CNN. "It is the duty of the Senate, under the Constitution, to give our advice and give our consent or withhold our consent. I believe we should follow the regular order and give careful consideration to any nominee that the president may send to the Senate."

Collins' initial statement on the confirmation process was not as strong. Last week, Collins said that "more than any other appointment upon which the Senate is called to pass judgment, nominees to the Supreme Court warrant in-depth consideration given the importance of their constitutional role and their lifetime tenure."

Collins' latest comments follow an op-ed from Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) in which he wrote that the Senate should consider Obama's Supreme Court nominee.

"I also recognize my duty as a senator to either vote in support or opposition to that nominee following a fair and thorough hearing along with a complete and transparent release of all requested information," Kirk wrote.

Yet Republican leadership does not appear to be willing to consider a nominee before the 2016 election. When asked on Monday if the Senate would hold hearings on Obama's nominee, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said "no," according to CNN.