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Minnesota Politicians Respond To Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Nomination To The Supreme Court

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/CBS) - On Saturday afternoon in the Rose Garden, President Donald Trump announced conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee.

If confirmed, Barrett would fill the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat, which was left vacant after she passed away on Sept. 18. Ginsburg was a champion of women's rights and a strong liberal voice on the court. She argued six landmark cases on gender equality before the court, eliminating legal barriers that were holding women back in the workplace and civic life. In 1993, she was nominated to the court by President Bill Clinton, and held the position until her death.

MORE: Minnesotan's Remember Justice Ginsburg's Impact On Same-Sex Marriage, Reproductive Rights, And Immigration

Barrett would be the third justice nominated by Trump, and would expand the conservative majority on the court, widening it to six to three. Her potential confirmation could also lead to a reckoning over abortion, which has divided the country since the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

Minnesota Democrats such as Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Tina Smith released statements on Saturday afternoon following Trump's announcement:

"Confirming a new Supreme Court Justice is a critical decision that will impact the lives of every American -- from our health care coverage, to workplace protections, voting rights, and more," said Klobuchar, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "With Americans already voting, the President is trying to jam through a nominee who has already voiced serious opposition to upholding the Affordable Care Act."

"I am disappointed the President is not honoring Justice Ginsburg's final and 'most fervent wish' that she not be replaced until after a new president is installed, and I will be guided in my decisions with her spirit in mind -- fighting for what is right for the American people and our democracy," she added.

"Americans need Supreme Court Justices who will protect the rights of all Americans, and deliver equal justice for all. Judge Barrett's record opposing the Affordable Care Act and reproductive rights for women shows that she is not qualified to safeguard our constitutional rights and liberties as a member of our nation's highest court," said U.S. Senator Tina Smith. She added she will oppose Barrett's nomination.

RELATED: Sen. Tina Smith Call Rush To Nominate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Successor 'The Height Of Hypocrisy'

On the other hand, Jason Lewis, who is running against Smith for a Senate seat, encouraged the Senate to confirm her as soon as possible, "ensuring we have a full Supreme Court heading into Election Day."

"President Trump's Supreme Court nomination not only reflects the priorities of Minnesotans and our country, but also puts an even greater emphasis on what is at stake with Minnesota's Senate race," he said.

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan said "We applaud President Trump for fulfilling his constitutional obligation to fill the vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. The President promised America he would nominate a woman and has fulfilled that promise with highly qualified jurist in Judge Amy Coney Barrett."

The Senate Judiciary Committee must hold confirmation hearings with Barrett ahead of the confirmation vote by the full Senate.

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