Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Out, Out, Damned Filibuster

These days, in our very closely divided U.S. Senate, it takes a 60 vote majority to get anything of controversy passed. It’s stupid!
by Charlie Leck

Almost all U.S. Senators admit that it takes a majority of 60 votes to pass anything of importance in their chamber. It is flat-out wrong in terms of what the founders of our democracy intended. Now, one of America’s best lawyers, Emmet Bondurant, intends to challenge the concept of the Filibuster and argue that it is unconstitutional. He wants to make that argument before the U.S. Supreme Court.

I won’t go on and on here. If you’re interested in the concept and the argument, you should read Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog (Is the filibuster constitutional?), published in the Washington Post.

Personally, I hate the filibuster. It was born out of a mistake and I think Bondurant is correct to take it on.

Reid and a couple of other Senators are going to try to reform the Senate rules in such a way that filibuster rule will be removed and votes requiring a super majority will be limited to the six occasions the writers of the constitution intended – (1) impeaching the President, (2) expelling members of the Senate, (3) overriding a presidential veto, (4) overriding a presidential order; (5) ratifying treaties and (6) amending the constitution. Bondurant will argue that by specifying these six exceptions, the framers were excluding all others and the filibuster rule should never have been made or accepted in the Senate. Should the Senate fail to eliminate the filibuster, Bondurant’s argument will be very compelling.

UPDATE (12:15 PM, 15 May 2012)Common Cause, which promotes itself as a nonpartisan advocacy group, has filed suit against the U.S. Senate to challenge the constitutionality of the filibuster rule within the Senate. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court on Monday.

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