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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 seeks to freeze .4 billion of programs in final week of presidency Dozens on FBI's terrorist watchlist were in DC day of Capitol riot Porter loses seat on House panel overseeing financial sector 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 GinsburgRuth Bader Ginsburg, George Floyd among options for 'Remember the Titans' school's new name Bipartisan anger builds over police failure at Capitol Lindsey Graham praises Merrick Garland as 'sound choice' to serve as attorney general 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 TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol 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 McConnellTrump seeks to freeze .4 billion of programs in final week of presidency McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Murkowski blasts Trump's election claims, calls House impeachment appropriate 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 AlexanderLamar AlexanderCongress addressed surprise medical bills, but the issue is not resolved Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes 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 ScottDeLauro wins Steering Committee vote for Appropriations chair National reading, math tests postponed to 2022 amid coronavirus surge Trump officials approve Georgia plan to remove healthcare.gov as enrollment option 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 BidenConfirmation hearing for Biden's DNI pick postponed Biden's Sunday inauguration rehearsal postponed due to security concerns: report Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again 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."