MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith says Republicans appear to have the votes to approve President Donald Trump's nominee for the next United States Supreme Court justice, following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Smith, who is running for reelection against former Minnesota Congressman and talk radio host Jason Lewis, is trying to appeal to the conscience of her fellow Senators on the other side of the aisle.
"My Republican colleagues have the power here to rush this through, but this is an illegitimate process," Smith said. "It goes against all precedent."
Smith says among the issues at stake is the future of the Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Obamacare, with a Supreme Court case scheduled for just a week after the election. She also says Republicans need to wait because of the precedent they set in 2016.
"They held a Supreme Court seat open for over 10 months. To me, it's the height of hypocrisy," Smith said.
Traditionally, Republican voters have been seen as being more motivated by the issue of Supreme Court picks. Some analysts believe one of the reasons Donald Trump won in 2016 is that conservatives were eager for Trump to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, and not Hillary Clinton.
Jason Lewis, speaking in Stillwater, said a lot is on the line for Republicans.
"The rest of your rights are at stake with this Supreme Court appointment, which is why I'm so behind getting it done before the election," Lewis said. "Do you really want my opponent, an executive director of Planned Parenthood, confirming judges on the issue of life?"
Lewis predicts it's Republican voter turnout that will get the boost over the Supreme Court issue -- but Smith warns it's Republicans who could pay the price at the polls.
Election Day is Nov. 3, and the winner of the presidential race will be sworn in on Jan. 20, 2021.
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