End of the Filibuster?

The Republicans control the House, the Senate, the White House, and have the majority on the Supreme Court. When it’s suited them, like during the Clinton Administration, Republicans have championed the use of the filibuster (Santorum and DeWine blocked Clinton’s nominee for Surgeon General in 1995 by filibuster).

Now that they have a majority, but not supermajority, they’re exploring ways of getting rid of the filibuster, because they’re afraid the remaining 44 Democrats and one Indenpendant may filibuster to block Bush’s nominees. Because Democrats have been crapped on by Bush, everyone knows that they’re not going to tow the Republican line.

Power corrupts indeed.Keep the filibuster

The New York Times

Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Republicans control the White House, both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court. But the greater their power, the more they have focused on one of its few limits: the Senate filibuster. They are so concerned that Democrats will use the filibuster to block a few far-right judicial nominees that they are talking about ending one of the best-known checks and balances in government. Rather than rewrite the rules of government for a power grab, Republicans should look for ways to work with Democrats, who still represent nearly half the country.
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The filibuster is almost as old as America itself. In 1790, senators filibustered to prevent Philadelphia from becoming the permanent U.S. capital. In the centuries since, senators have used their privilege of unlimited debate to fend off actions supported by a bare majority of the Senate, but deeply offensive to the minority. In 1917, the Senate adopted a formal resolution allowing senators to delay actions unless debate is cut off by a supermajority, which Senate rules now set at 60 votes.
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The filibuster has a storied place in U.S. history and popular culture. During the Depression, Huey Long of Louisiana fought off a bill he opposed by reciting recipes for fried oysters and potlikker. In the 1939 film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” Jimmy Stewart triumphed over crooked politicians with a 23-hour filibuster. Filibusters were used, notoriously, by Southern senators to fight civil rights legislation. But even during those dark days, the Senate considered the right to filibuster sacrosanct.
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Judicial nominees have never been immune from filibusters. When Republicans opposed President Lyndon Johnson’s choice for chief justice, Abe Fortas, they led a successful filibuster to stop him from getting the job. More recently, in the Clinton era, Republicans spoke out loudly in defense of their right to filibuster against the confirmation of cabinet members and judicial nominees. Republican senators, including Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Mike DeWine of Ohio, used a filibuster in 1995 to block President Bill Clinton’s nominee for surgeon general. Bill Frist, now the Senate majority leader, supported a filibuster of a Clinton appeals court nomination.
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Now that Republicans are doing the appointing, they see things very differently. Frist recently declared that preventing votes on judicial nominees is “intolerable.” According to Senate rules, changing the filibuster rule should require a two-thirds vote, but among the proposals Republicans are floating is the so-called nuclear option, under which Vice President Dick Cheney, as Senate president, would rule that filibusters of judicial nominees could be ended by a simple majority.
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That would no doubt put the whole matter in the courts, an odd place for the Republicans – who are fighting this battle in the name of ending activist courts – to want it resolved. The Republicans would have a weak case. The Constitution expressly authorizes the Senate to “determine the rules of its proceedings.” That is precisely what it has done.
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If it came to a vote, it is not at all clear that the Republicans would be able to command even a majority for ending the filibuster. Senators appreciate their chamber’s special role, and much of its uniqueness is based on traditions like the filibuster.
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Republicans see the filibuster as an annoying obstacle. But it is actually one of the checks and balances that the founders, who worried greatly about concentration of power, built into America’s system of government. It is also, right now, the main means by which the 48 percent of American voters who supported John Kerry can influence federal policy. People who call themselves conservatives should find a way of achieving their goals without declaring war on one of the oldest traditions in American democracy.
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< < Back to Start of Article Republicans control the White House, both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court. But the greater their power, the more they have focused on one of its few limits: the Senate filibuster. They are so concerned that Democrats will use the filibuster to block a few far-right judicial nominees that they are talking about ending one of the best-known checks and balances in government. Rather than rewrite the rules of government for a power grab, Republicans should look for ways to work with Democrats, who still represent nearly half the country. . The filibuster is almost as old as America itself. In 1790, senators filibustered to prevent Philadelphia from becoming the permanent U.S. capital. In the centuries since, senators have used their privilege of unlimited debate to fend off actions supported by a bare majority of the Senate, but deeply offensive to the minority. In 1917, the Senate adopted a formal resolution allowing senators to delay actions unless debate is cut off by a supermajority, which Senate rules now set at 60 votes. . The filibuster has a storied place in U.S. history and popular culture. During the Depression, Huey Long of Louisiana fought off a bill he opposed by reciting recipes for fried oysters and potlikker. In the 1939 film "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," Jimmy Stewart triumphed over crooked politicians with a 23-hour filibuster. Filibusters were used, notoriously, by Southern senators to fight civil rights legislation. But even during those dark days, the Senate considered the right to filibuster sacrosanct. . Judicial nominees have never been immune from filibusters. When Republicans opposed President Lyndon Johnson's choice for chief justice, Abe Fortas, they led a successful filibuster to stop him from getting the job. More recently, in the Clinton era, Republicans spoke out loudly in defense of their right to filibuster against the confirmation of cabinet members and judicial nominees. Republican senators, including Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Mike DeWine of Ohio, used a filibuster in 1995 to block President Bill Clinton's nominee for surgeon general. Bill Frist, now the Senate majority leader, supported a filibuster of a Clinton appeals court nomination. . Now that Republicans are doing the appointing, they see things very differently. Frist recently declared that preventing votes on judicial nominees is "intolerable." According to Senate rules, changing the filibuster rule should require a two-thirds vote, but among the proposals Republicans are floating is the so-called nuclear option, under which Vice President Dick Cheney, as Senate president, would rule that filibusters of judicial nominees could be ended by a simple majority. . That would no doubt put the whole matter in the courts, an odd place for the Republicans - who are fighting this battle in the name of ending activist courts - to want it resolved. The Republicans would have a weak case. The Constitution expressly authorizes the Senate to "determine the rules of its proceedings." That is precisely what it has done. . If it came to a vote, it is not at all clear that the Republicans would be able to command even a majority for ending the filibuster. Senators appreciate their chamber's special role, and much of its uniqueness is based on traditions like the filibuster. . Republicans see the filibuster as an annoying obstacle. But it is actually one of the checks and balances that the founders, who worried greatly about concentration of power, built into America's system of government. It is also, right now, the main means by which the 48 percent of American voters who supported John Kerry can influence federal policy. People who call themselves conservatives should find a way of achieving their goals without declaring war on one of the oldest traditions in American democracy. . Republicans control the White House, both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court. But the greater their power, the more they have focused on one of its few limits: the Senate filibuster. They are so concerned that Democrats will use the filibuster to block a few far-right judicial nominees that they are talking about ending one of the best-known checks and balances in government. Rather than rewrite the rules of government for a power grab, Republicans should look for ways to work with Democrats, who still represent nearly half the country. . The filibuster is almost as old as America itself. In 1790, senators filibustered to prevent Philadelphia from becoming the permanent U.S. capital. In the centuries since, senators have used their privilege of unlimited debate to fend off actions supported by a bare majority of the Senate, but deeply offensive to the minority. In 1917, the Senate adopted a formal resolution allowing senators to delay actions unless debate is cut off by a supermajority, which Senate rules now set at 60 votes. . The filibuster has a storied place in U.S. history and popular culture. During the Depression, Huey Long of Louisiana fought off a bill he opposed by reciting recipes for fried oysters and potlikker. In the 1939 film "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," Jimmy Stewart triumphed over crooked politicians with a 23-hour filibuster. Filibusters were used, notoriously, by Southern senators to fight civil rights legislation. But even during those dark days, the Senate considered the right to filibuster sacrosanct. . Judicial nominees have never been immune from filibusters. When Republicans opposed President Lyndon Johnson's choice for chief justice, Abe Fortas, they led a successful filibuster to stop him from getting the job. More recently, in the Clinton era, Republicans spoke out loudly in defense of their right to filibuster against the confirmation of cabinet members and judicial nominees. Republican senators, including Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Mike DeWine of Ohio, used a filibuster in 1995 to block President Bill Clinton's nominee for surgeon general. Bill Frist, now the Senate majority leader, supported a filibuster of a Clinton appeals court nomination. . Now that Republicans are doing the appointing, they see things very differently. Frist recently declared that preventing votes on judicial nominees is "intolerable." According to Senate rules, changing the filibuster rule should require a two-thirds vote, but among the proposals Republicans are floating is the so-called nuclear option, under which Vice President Dick Cheney, as Senate president, would rule that filibusters of judicial nominees could be ended by a simple majority. . That would no doubt put the whole matter in the courts, an odd place for the Republicans - who are fighting this battle in the name of ending activist courts - to want it resolved. The Republicans would have a weak case. The Constitution expressly authorizes the Senate to "determine the rules of its proceedings." That is precisely what it has done. . If it came to a vote, it is not at all clear that the Republicans would be able to command even a majority for ending the filibuster. Senators appreciate their chamber's special role, and much of its uniqueness is based on traditions like the filibuster. . Republicans see the filibuster as an annoying obstacle. But it is actually one of the checks and balances that the founders, who worried greatly about concentration of power, built into America's system of government. It is also, right now, the main means by which the 48 percent of American voters who supported John Kerry can influence federal policy. People who call themselves conservatives should find a way of achieving their goals without declaring war on one of the oldest traditions in American democracy. . Republicans control the White House, both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court. But the greater their power, the more they have focused on one of its few limits: the Senate filibuster. They are so concerned that Democrats will use the filibuster to block a few far-right judicial nominees that they are talking about ending one of the best-known checks and balances in government. Rather than rewrite the rules of government for a power grab, Republicans should look for ways to work with Democrats, who still represent nearly half the country. . The filibuster is almost as old as America itself. In 1790, senators filibustered to prevent Philadelphia from becoming the permanent U.S. capital. In the centuries since, senators have used their privilege of unlimited debate to fend off actions supported by a bare majority of the Senate, but deeply offensive to the minority. In 1917, the Senate adopted a formal resolution allowing senators to delay actions unless debate is cut off by a supermajority, which Senate rules now set at 60 votes. . The filibuster has a storied place in U.S. history and popular culture. During the Depression, Huey Long of Louisiana fought off a bill he opposed by reciting recipes for fried oysters and potlikker. In the 1939 film "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," Jimmy Stewart triumphed over crooked politicians with a 23-hour filibuster. Filibusters were used, notoriously, by Southern senators to fight civil rights legislation. But even during those dark days, the Senate considered the right to filibuster sacrosanct. . Judicial nominees have never been immune from filibusters. When Republicans opposed President Lyndon Johnson's choice for chief justice, Abe Fortas, they led a successful filibuster to stop him from getting the job. More recently, in the Clinton era, Republicans spoke out loudly in defense of their right to filibuster against the confirmation of cabinet members and judicial nominees. Republican senators, including Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Mike DeWine of Ohio, used a filibuster in 1995 to block President Bill Clinton's nominee for surgeon general. Bill Frist, now the Senate majority leader, supported a filibuster of a Clinton appeals court nomination. . Now that Republicans are doing the appointing, they see things very differently. Frist recently declared that preventing votes on judicial nominees is "intolerable." According to Senate rules, changing the filibuster rule should require a two-thirds vote, but among the proposals Republicans are floating is the so-called nuclear option, under which Vice President Dick Cheney, as Senate president, would rule that filibusters of judicial nominees could be ended by a simple majority. . That would no doubt put the whole matter in the courts, an odd place for the Republicans - who are fighting this battle in the name of ending activist courts - to want it resolved. The Republicans would have a weak case. The Constitution expressly authorizes the Senate to "determine the rules of its proceedings." That is precisely what it has done. . If it came to a vote, it is not at all clear that the Republicans would be able to command even a majority for ending the filibuster. Senators appreciate their chamber's special role, and much of its uniqueness is based on traditions like the filibuster. . Republicans see the filibuster as an Republicans control the White House, both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court. But the greater their power, the more they have focused on one of its few limits: the Senate filibuster. They are so concerned that Democrats will use the filibuster to block a few far-right judicial nominees that they are talking about ending one of the best-known checks and balances in government. Rather than rewrite the rules of government for a power grab, Republicans should look for ways to work with Democrats, who still represent nearly half the country. . The filibuster is almost as old as America itself. In 1790, senators filibustered to prevent Philadelphia from becoming the permanent U.S. capital. In the centuries since, senators have used their privilege of unlimited debate to fend off actions supported by a bare majority of the Senate, but deeply offensive to the minority. In 1917, the Senate adopted a formal resolution allowing senators to delay actions unless debate is cut off by a supermajority, which Senate rules now set at 60 votes. . The filibuster has a storied place in U.S. history and popular culture. During the Depression, Huey Long of Louisiana fought off a bill he opposed by reciting recipes for fried oysters and potlikker. In the 1939 film "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," Jimmy Stewart triumphed over crooked politicians with a 23-hour filibuster. Filibusters were used, notoriously, by Southern senators to fight civil rights legislation. But even during those dark days, the Senate considered the right to filibuster sacrosanct. . Judicial nominees have never been immune from filibusters. When Republicans opposed President Lyndon Johnson's choice for chief justice, Abe Fortas, they led a successful filibuster to stop him from getting the job. More recently, in the Clinton era, Republicans spoke out loudly in defense of their right to filibuster against the confirmation of cabinet members and judicial nominees. Republican senators, including Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Mike DeWine of Ohio, used a filibuster in 1995 to block President Bill Clinton's nominee for surgeon general. Bill Frist, now the Senate majority leader, supported a filibuster of a Clinton appeals court nomination. . Now that Republicans are doing the appointing, they see things very differently. Frist recently declared that preventing votes on judicial nominees is "intolerable." According to Senate rules, changing the filibuster rule should require a two-thirds vote, but among the proposals Republicans are floating is the so-called nuclear option, under which Vice President Dick Cheney, as Senate president, would rule that filibusters of judicial nominees could be ended by a simple majority. . That would no doubt put the whole matter in the courts, an odd place for the Republicans - who are fighting this battle in the name of ending activist courts - to want it resolved. The Republicans would have a weak case. The Constitution expressly authorizes the Senate to "determine the rules of its proceedings." That is precisely what it has done. . If it came to a vote, it is not at all clear that the Republicans would be able to command even a majority for ending the filibuster. Senators appreciate their chamber's special role, and much of its uniqueness is based on traditions like the filibuster. . Republicans see the filibuster as an annoying obstacle. But it is actually one of the checks and balances that the founders, who worried greatly about concentration of power, built into America's system of government. It is also, right now, the main means by which the 48 percent of American voters who supported John Kerry can influence federal policy. People who call themselves conservatives should find a way of achieving their goals without declaring war on one of the oldest traditions in American democracy. . See more of the world that matters - click here for home delivery of the International Herald Tribune. < < Back to Start of Article Republicans control the White House, both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court. But the greater their power, the more they have focused on one of its few limits: the Senate filibuster. They are so concerned that Democrats will use the filibuster to block a few far-right judicial nominees that they are talking about ending one of the best-known checks and balances in government. Rather than rewrite the rules of government for a power grab, Republicans should look for ways to work with Democrats, who still represent nearly half the country. . The filibuster is almost as old as America itself. In 1790, senators filibustered to prevent Philadelphia from becoming the permanent U.S. capital. In the centuries since, senators have used their privilege of unlimited debate to fend off actions supported by a bare majority of the Senate, but deeply offensive to the minority. In 1917, the Senate adopted a formal resolution allowing senators to delay actions unless debate is cut off by a supermajority, which Senate rules now set at 60 votes. . The filibuster has a storied place in U.S. history and popular culture. During the Depression, Huey Long of Louisiana fought off a bill he opposed by reciting recipes for fried oysters and potlikker. In the 1939 film "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," Jimmy Stewart triumphed over crooked politicians with a 23-hour filibuster. Filibusters were used, notoriously, by Southern senators to fight civil rights legislation. But even during those dark days, the Senate considered the right to filibuster sacrosanct. . Judicial nominees have never been immune from filibusters. When Republicans opposed President Lyndon Johnson's choice for chief justice, Abe Fortas, they led a successful filibuster to stop him from getting the job. More recently, in the Clinton era, Republicans spoke out loudly in defense of their right to filibuster against the confirmation of cabinet members and judicial nominees. Republican senators, including Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Mike DeWine of Ohio, used a filibuster in 1995 to block President Bill Clinton's nominee for surgeon general. Bill Frist, now the Senate majority leader, supported a filibuster of a Clinton appeals court nomination. . Now that Republicans are doing the appointing, they see things very differently. Frist recently declared that preventing votes on judicial nominees is "intolerable." According to Senate rules, changing the filibuster rule should require a two-thirds vote, but among the proposals Republicans are floating is the so-called nuclear option, under which Vice President Dick Cheney, as Senate president, would rule that filibusters of judicial nominees could be ended by a simple majority. . That would no doubt put the whole matter in the courts, an odd place for the Republicans - who are fighting this battle in the name of ending activist courts - to want it resolved. The Republicans would have a weak case. The Constitution expressly authorizes the Senate to "determine the rules of its proceedings." That is precisely what it has done. . If it came to a vote, it is not at all clear that the Republicans would be able to command even a majority for ending the filibuster. Senators appreciate their chamber's special role, and much of its uniqueness is based on traditions like the filibuster. . Republicans see the filibuster as an annoying obstacle. But it is actually one of the checks and balances that the founders, who worried greatly about concentration of power, built into America's system of government. It is also, right now, the main means by which the 48 percent of American voters who supported John Kerry can influence federal policy. People who call themselves conservatives should find a way of achieving their goals without declaring war on one of the oldest traditions in American democracy.

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