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

Sen. Ed Markey (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 Ginsburg. 

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 McConnell (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. 

“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 McSally (Ariz.) and Susan Collins (Maine). Senate Republican leaders such as McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (S.C.) are also up for reelection in November. 

Tags Ed Markey Ed Markey Lindsey Graham Martha McSally Mitch McConnell Mitch McConnell RBG Ruth Bader Ginsburg Ruth Bader Ginsburg Ruth Bader Ginsburg death Susan Collins

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