Markey Claims Democrats Will Restore 60-Vote Threshold for Supreme Court Nominees

Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) claimed Monday that Democrats will restore the 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees once his party retakes the majority in the Senate.

"When the Democrats return to the majority and capture the presidency, which we will," Markey said, "that day is going to arrive [and] we will restore the 60-vote margin."

"We will ensure that for the Supreme Court, there is that special margin that any candidate has to reach because that is essential to ensuring that our country has a confidence in those people who are nominated," Markey added. "Rather than just someone who passes a litmus test."

MSNBC host Katy Tur asked Markey earlier in the interview whether he and Democrats had regrets about opposing President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, who was sworn in on Monday. Democrats mounted the votes to filibuster Gorsuch, a rarity for Supreme Court picks.

Markey castigated Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and Senate Republicans for invoking the so-called "nuclear option" by lowering the cloture threshold from 60 votes to a simple majority of 51. He called their move "unprecedented" and said that they "destroyed" the Supreme Court nomination process.

The Senate then confirmed Gorsuch last Friday with a 54-45 vote in favor of his nomination, and he was officially sworn in on Monday.

This tactic was used by Senate Republicans to overcome the filibuster effort by Democrats, but it was initiated by former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev) and Senate Democrats in 2013 when they controlled the chamber, the Washington Free Beacon reported:

Senate Democrats first employed the nuclear option back in 2013 to advance former President Obama's judicial nominations, although the Supreme Court was not included in the rule change. The move was used to circumvent Republican efforts to filibuster some of Obama's nominees

Three and a half years later, Democrats have threatened to filibuster the nomination of Gorsuch, President Trump's pick for the nation's highest court. The Senate's 52 Republicans threatened to use the nuclear option to break the filibuster and did so on Thursday.