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

Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyHillicon Valley: Supreme Court sides with Google in copyright fight against Oracle | Justices dismiss suit over Trump's blocking of critics on Twitter | Tim Cook hopes Parler will return to Apple Store Democrats press Facebook on plans for Instagram for kids Give Republicans the climate credit they deserve 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 GinsburgProgressives give Biden's court reform panel mixed reviews Biden will let Breyer decide when to retire, aide says Biden establishes commission to study expanding Supreme Court 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 McConnellRomney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS McConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists 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 McSallyArizona state senator announces bid for Kirkpatrick's seat Democratic Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick says she won't seek reelection Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (Ariz.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Biden-GOP infrastructure talks off to rocky start Moderate GOP senators and Biden clash at start of infrastructure debate MORE (Maine). Senate Republican leaders such as McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists Biden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike Sanders expresses 'serious concerns' with Biden's defense increase MORE (S.C.) are also up for reelection in November.