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Pelosi urges early voting to counter GOP's high court gambit: 'There has to be a price to pay'

Pelosi urges early voting to counter GOP's high court gambit: 'There has to be a price to pay'
© Greg Nash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo On The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Overnight Health Care: CDC expands definition of 'close contact' after COVID-19 report | GOP coronavirus bill blocked in Senate | OxyContin maker agrees to B settlement with Trump administration MORE (D-Calif.) is offering advice to Americans put off by the Republicans' effort to fill a Supreme Court vacancy just weeks before the elections: vote early.

"If the Republicans insist on going forward, then there has to be a price to pay," she said Friday in an interview with "CBS This Morning."

A host of recent polls show that most Americans oppose the Republicans' rush to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgDemocrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Mitt Romney did not vote for Trump in 2020 election The Senate should evoke RBG in its confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett MORE so close to the elections, preferring that the Senate wait to see the outcome of the presidential race.

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Buoyed by those surveys, Pelosi and her Democratic allies are promoting voter mobilization as the single best way for frustrated Americans to respond.

"This is totally, completely inappropriate, and counter to what they said when Justice [Antonin] Scalia passed," she said. "But it's no use getting into their hypocrisy. What we have to make sure people know, they must vote and must vote early, so that the message — their voices, their vote — that that message comes clearly."

Following Ginsburg's death last week, Senate GOP leaders are charging ahead with their plan to seat her replacement before the Nov. 3 elections. President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE is expected to announce his nominee on Saturday.

The effort marks a sharp reversal from the Republicans' position in 2016, when Scalia died roughly nine months before the presidential election and GOP senators refused to consider the nominee forwarded by then-President Obama.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Trump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid MORE (R-Ky.) said at the time that future voters should get to decide who fills the vacancy.

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“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,” he said at the time.

Republicans have defended their new position, arguing that the dynamics are different this year because, unlike 2016, the president and Senate are now controlled by the same party.

"No one should be surprised that a Republican Senate majority would vote on a Republican president’s Supreme Court nomination, even during a presidential election year," said Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Two weeks out, Trump attempts to rally the base McConnell aims for unity amid growing divisions with Trump Overnight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas MORE (R-Tenn.).

Democrats are unconvinced, accusing GOP leaders of conducting a shameless power grab that flouts their posture of four years ago.

"Democrats have done hypocritical things in the past," said Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottDemocrats demand answers from Labor Department on CDC recommendations for meatpacking plant Pelosi urges early voting to counter GOP's high court gambit: 'There has to be a price to pay' Congress must finish work on popular conservation bill before time runs out MORE (D-Va.), "but at least we have the common decency to be embarrassed about it."

Pelosi on Friday said the GOP's urgency is rooted in the singular purpose of repealing ObamaCare — a campaign promise they've failed to accomplish legislatively. The Supreme Court is poised to hear opening arguments on Nov. 10 in a state-based challenge to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

"All of the polling shows that people do not want the Affordable Care Act overturned," she said.

Pelosi also touted voting as a remedy for countering Trump's suggestion that there may not be a peaceful transition if he were to lose the election to Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida Supreme Court reinstates ban on curbside voting in Alabama MORE in November — a possibility Pelosi did not rule out.

"I'm hoping for the best; I'm prepared for the worst," Pelosi said. "The best antidote to their poison is to vote ... to have your friends and neighbors vote, whoever you vote for — but have it be a big, clear vote."