Former Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards (Md.) and CNN analyst Angela Rye called for Democrats to do whatever it takes Wednesday to stop President Donald Trump from getting a Supreme Court justice appointed this fall.
Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Republicans barely control the Senate with a 51-49 majority, meaning a pick could be confirmed on party lines. Democrats are still furious over GOP maneuvering in 2016 to block Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia, and many are calling on a vote on Trump's pick to be delayed until after the 2018 midterms.
MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace asked Edwards on "Deadline White House" how she would advise her former colleagues in Congress to deal with the prospect of Trump nominating a replacement for Kennedy this year.
"It's time for Democrats to throw down, and what I mean by that is we've been playing by the rule book, and Donald Trump and Republicans have been playing by street rules," Edwards said. "We need to play by street rules."
"What does that look like?" Wallace asked.
Edwards pointed to putting public pressure on lawmakers like Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) because of their more moderate social views. Democrats are worried Trump will appoint a strongly conservative justice to replace Kennedy, who was viewed as a swing vote on important issues.
"It also means having the street rise up against them in Maine, in Alaska, and of course in Washington, and I don't think it's time to be cute anymore," she said.
She called the upcoming fight a matter of the Democratic Party's soul.
"It's about a potential setback on a whole range of things that we care deeply about, and it will be unforgivable if Democrats roll on this and they don't take it to Republicans hard," Edwards said.
On CNN's "The Lead," host Jake Tapper asked Rye what Senate Democrats needed to do about the upcoming Supreme Court fight.
"They have to raise hell," Rye said. "I said it kind of—whatever, but I mean, like, seriously. This is a decision that doesn't just impact our lives next year or the next two years."
Tapper asked what she meant specifically by "raise hell," to which Rye responded Democrats should firmly point to when Senate Republicans withheld a hearing for Garland in 2016, saying the 2018 elections should be held first.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), who has already announced the Senate will vote on the Supreme Court nomination this fall, said it was different this time because it's not a presidential election year.