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

Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeySenate Democrats to introduce measure taxing major polluters Democrat senators introduce resolution for COVID-19 memorial day Human rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action 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 GinsburgBill would honor Ginsburg, O'Connor with statues at Capitol Supreme Court's approval rating dips to 49 percent  Anti-abortion movement eyes its holy grail 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 McConnellOn The Money: Trump asks court to block release of tax returns to Congress | Private sector adds 330K jobs in July, well short of expectations Senate panel advances first three spending bills McConnell lays out GOP demands for government-funding deal 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 McSallySchumer, Tim Scott lead as Senate fundraising pace heats up GOP group launches million ad campaign pressing Kelly on filibuster Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal MORE (Ariz.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate finalizes .2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Schumer: Democrats 'on track' to pass bipartisan deal, .5T budget MORE (Maine). Senate Republican leaders such as McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin Graham19 House Democrats call on Capitol physician to mandate vaccines The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by AT&T - Simone wins bronze with altered beam routine The job of shielding journalists is not finished MORE (S.C.) are also up for reelection in November.