“I made it very clear, yes, that I did not think there should be a vote prior to the election,” Ms. Collins told reporters. “And if there is one, I would oppose the nominee.”
As Republicans prepared to move forward, mourners in Washington and across the country were preparing to honor Justice Ginsburg, a pioneering advocate for women’s rights who died on Friday, in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court and a public viewing outside the court building on Wednesday.
At the White House, Mr. Trump and his advisers continued to contemplate a handful of possible nominees, all women, before the announcement on Saturday. But while Mr. Trump enjoys creating a public crescendo about his choices, and is likely to meet with Judge Barbara Lagoa of the 11th Circuit, four people briefed on his thinking said the decision was close to made in favor of Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago.
Mr. Trump likes Judge Barrett, a favorite of anti-abortion conservatives, and has been receptive to advisers’ descriptions of her as a female version of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016. She was at the White House on Tuesday for a second consecutive day.
At a rally on Tuesday night in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, the president thanked his party for “great support” around the court vacancy, even adding that he was now “happy” with Mr. Romney, whom he has repeatedly scorned. But Mr. Trump suggested it was little wonder senators, and particularly voters, were so engaged.
“They will set policy for 50 years,” he said of whomever he nominates. “They’ll set policy — whether it’s life, whether it’s Second Amendment.”
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader who has been the architect of Republicans’ record-breaking success in filling the courts, said the party would lay out a timeline for the confirmation process as soon as Mr. Trump settled on his pick. Either way, he said, the president would end up with a “well-qualified woman” on the court.