Remember when there was all that hubub about the filibuster a few weeks back, when the Democrats swore to filibuster the Republican’s goals into oblivion, and the Republicans promised to get rid of the filibuster? Remember how they "worked together" to "resolve" it? I’ll bet you thought you’d heard the last of it.
I most sincerely doubt it.
Everyone ever using the filibuster has touted its power as the last defense of Right and Good. Everyone ever being filibustered has chafed and cursed it. And pretty much anyone who’s experienced one has experienced the other.
I don’t like the filibuster, but I don’t like the idea of simply abolishing it either. When we have it, The Minority pretty much has veto power on anything they wish. When we don’t have it, The Majority can push through whatever the heck they want. That kind of dichotomy in power bothers me.
I don’t really have a solution, but you can bet that we’ll be seeing the issue again, possibly very soon what with a new Supreme Court person needed.
2 thoughts on “The Filibuster”
There’s one detail to the filibuster that’s important to include. It isn’t all-powerful, but can be halted with a supermajority vote (2/3 I think). That allows congress to put a lid on people who are just getting out of hand, and is in effect a kind of veto on specific acts of filibustering.
Yes, the filibuster is a pain in the rear for *everyone*, but as you’ve noted, it can provide that crucial balance needed to prevent the majority from running roughshod. When the Democrats are in the majority, Republicans defend the right to filibuster, and vice versa.
I find it odd that many Democrats are decrying the Republicans’ threatened abolishment of the filibuster. They have not threatened to abolish it altogether; they have threatened to alter the Senate rules regarding filibustering *judicial nominees*. This is very narrow in scope. For example, if they do abolish the filibuster for judicial nominees, Senators may still filibuster just about every other vote. Many argue that the filibuster somehow ensures that the majority cannot push through “evil” legislation and so it is necessary to preserve our freedoms and liberties. These folk fail to mention that filibustering is not allowed on appropriation bills. If the filibuster is so vital, should it not apply to *all* pending legislation? If filibustering appropriation bills were allowed by the Senate rules, surely both parties would use it to prevent the other side from “winning” – and nothing would get done. Such a filibuster is not allowed and our country marches onward. As Alan posted, if the Republicans do change the Senate rules regarding filibustering judicial appointments, the Democrats will howl…until they are in the majority again at which time they will see the “wisdom” of it.