Fri 28 Sep, 2018 10:46 am
This seems so obvious.... getting rid of the filibuster was a bad thing for the Senate, and a bad thing for the Supreme Court.
The filibuster is a great tool. It means pushes the president to choose judges that are acceptable to both sides, and it is allows judges who are truly odious to one of the political sides to be blocked.
The filibuster also minimizes the ugliness that happens when one side is hell bent on pushing a nominee through, and the other side wants to stop them "at any cost".
The downside is that it is frustrating when your side is in power, but it is better for the country and it pushes the Senate towards compromise.
I support the filibuster no matter which side is in power.
What was the justification for the filibuster when it was originally devised? I don't even know.
I don't know the history, but it fits with the image of the Senate as a "collegial body".
Why would randomly deciding that you need 60% of the vote to win instead of 50% be worthwhile? The filibuster was always completely random and undemocratic. Why not make it 90% or 70%? The filibuster is the reason Congress couldn't continue work on the healthcare bill after Kennedy died and why tons of judicial vacancies under Obama went unfilled even though fully qualified candidates were nominated. I don't see any significant value that is not outweighed by the negatives.
In the case of Kavanaugh, you have to admit that the filibuster would be nice. The idea would be that any nominee that was truly odious to one side couldn't be so easily rammed through by the majority.
What was the justification for the filibuster when it was first devised?
Plenty of info and history from start finish.
(other spaces around the web address the entire matter further. If someone is in contact with a history brained person on this or another site they could likely address it in an understandable manner)
I also agree, it should be brought back.
Interesting article. The only part I see which answers why it was inserted in the first place is this:
They love it for two reasons. The high-minded reason was summed up by Sen. Byrd in 1989: “The framers of the Constitution thought of the Senate as the safeguard against hasty and unwise action by the House.” The less high-minded reason was summed up by Senate historian Donald Ritchie in 2010: “Asking a senator to speak for a long time isn’t a punishment. They love to do that.”
I only did a very quick read on this, but it seems to me like the idea of filibuster might be more of a legacy mechanism from very deep history. It doesn't seem to have a strong reason for existing.
Balance that against the proud history of the filibuster where it was by Southern senators to block civil rights legislation. The history of the filibuster is rarely one of a dedicated minority of saving the country from gross missteps, it is typically an odious minority using a last gasp to stop the country from moving forward. That was certainly the case with Republicans stopping Obama judicial nominations. Stopping one unqualified candidate is not worth it.
From the Senate site:
In 1841, when the Democratic minority hoped to block a bank bill promoted by Kentucky Senator Henry Clay, he threatened to change Senate rules to allow the majority to close debate. Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton rebuked Clay for trying to stifle the Senate's right to unlimited debate.
Three quarters of a century later, in 1917, senators adopted a rule (Rule 22), at the urging of President Woodrow Wilson, that allowed the Senate to end a debate with a two-thirds majority vote, a device known as "cloture." The new Senate rule was first put to the test in 1919, when the Senate invoked cloture to end a filibuster against the Treaty of Versailles. Even with the new cloture rule, filibusters remained an effective means to block legislation, since a two-thirds vote is difficult to obtain. Over the next five decades, the Senate occasionally tried to invoke cloture, but usually failed to gain the necessary two-thirds vote. Filibusters were particularly useful to Southern senators who sought to block civil rights legislation, including anti-lynching legislation, until cloture was invoked after a 60 day filibuster against the Civil Right Act of 1964.
As a matter of fact, the so-called filibuster (from a Spanish term for a pirate, in fact) can come and go subject to the strength of any party's majority in the Senate. Article One, Section Five, second paragraph of the constitution reads, in its entirety:
Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member.
Both the three-fifths rule currently in use (which allows for cloture when a point of order is raised, and three fifths of the quorum concurs) and the two-thirds rule for cloture are both fully in line with the powers vested in each house by the constitution, and are subject to change at any time, without prior consultation with any other body, by any party with enough muscle to push a measure through.
Balance that against the proud history of the filibuster where it was by Southern senators to block civil rights legislation. The history of the filibuster is rarely one of a dedicated minority of saving the country from gross missteps, it is typically an odious minority using a last gasp to stop the country from moving forward.
Who decides what is a gross misstep and what should be embraced as progress?
The filibuster helped the NRA to prevent Barack Obama from violating the civil rights of all Americans.