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Democratic senator calls for eliminating filibuster, expanding Supreme Court if GOP fills vacancy

Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats push expansion of offshore wind, block offshore drilling with ocean energy bill | Poll: Two-thirds of voters support Biden climate plan | Biden plan lags Green New Deal in fighting emissions from homes Biden plan lags Green New Deal in fighting emissions from homes Senate Republicans offer constitutional amendment to block Supreme Court packing MORE (D-Mass.) called for Senate Democrats to eliminate the filibuster if Republicans move to expand conservative majority on the Supreme Court by filling the vacancy left by late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgThe Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden face off for last time on the debate stage Clean energy opportunities in a time of crisis Trump when asked if he'd be kinder in his second term: 'Yes, I think so' MORE

Markey’s comments were among the partisan exchanges sparked after the court announced Ginsburg’s death of pancreatic cancer Friday evening. She was 87.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell says 'no concerns' after questions about health Overnight Health Care: Trump says he hopes Supreme Court strikes down ObamaCare | FDA approves remdesivir as COVID-19 treatment | Dems threaten to subpoena HHS over allegations of political interference at CDC The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden face off for last time on the debate stage MORE (R-Ky.) quickly indicated that he intends to bring a nominee up for a vote in the Republican-majority Senate, a reversal from a precedent set in March 2016 after the election-year death of the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia when the Senate delayed a nomination until after the election. 

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“Mitch McConnell set the precedent,” Markey said. “No Supreme Court vacancies filled in an election year. If he violates it, when Democrats control the Senate in the next Congress, we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court.”

Markey and other progressives have called for ending the filibuster when and if Democrats win back the majority in the Senate, arguing that it has led to constant stalemates on important legislation. 

This comes as several vulnerable Republicans are up for reelection this cycle, including Sens. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallySenate is leaning to the Democrats, big time, with a wave Cunningham, Tillis locked in tight race in North Carolina: poll Senate Republicans offer constitutional amendment to block Supreme Court packing MORE (Ariz.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsRepublicans advance Barrett's Supreme Court nomination after Democrats boycott committee vote Democrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid MORE (Maine). Senate Republican leaders such as McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHarrison says campaign had to spend record M haul 'to get this thing to toss-up status' BlackPAC rolls out Senate race endorsements for the first time The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by the Walton Family Foundation — Sights and sounds outside the Amy Coney Barrett vote MORE (S.C.) are also up for reelection in November.