The fight over filling the Supreme Court vacancy will become "the top issue of the 2020 election," according to GOP strategist and lawyer Ford O'Connell on Newsmax TV.
Talk of the coronavirus pandemic will take a backseat to who should select the successor to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, O'Connell told Monday's "American Agenda."
President Donald Trump has said he plans to name his pick Friday or Saturday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he intends to hold a hearing to confirm Trump's pick. Democrats have called for the nomination to be made by whoever wins the presidential election.
O'Connell said it is important to have nine justices on the bench because the "Democrats have already said they're going to challenge the election results if Donald Trump wins."
He said if there is a challenge on election results that winds up at the Supreme Court for a decision, "you need to have nine justices on there."
He ripped Democrats who are threatening to pack the courts and even impeach Trump for selecting a justice ahead of the election.
"They never accepted the 2016 election results," he said of the Democrats, adding they are "resorting to extortion" to change the rules.
In selecting who should serve on the high court, O'Connell said the president should "find someone who is agreeable to all wings of the Republican Party."
He added that person should be "well vetted" and someone the Democrats "can play the least amount of games with."
In regard to whether the Republicans will have enough votes to confirm a nominee, O'Connell said he thinks the party does. They need 50 votes and a tie-breaker from Vice President Mike Pence.
Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, both said they will not vote. They want the pick to go to the winner of the presidential election.
But O'Connell said other GOP senators are possibly on the fence about the vote, such as Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.
He predicted Gardner and Grassley will vote because they are pro-life supporters and "they understand what the stakes are" in "terms of their moral compass."
He said he thinks Romney will as well, because he tends to be a pro-life supporter even though he has clashed with the president in the past.
"And if he doesn't put his money where his mouth is, he going to be a bigger trader than Benedict Arnold," O'Connell said of Romney.
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