Skip to comments.Give Them a Real Filibuster!-Win the judicial nominations battle? Make the other side speak 24/7
Posted on 04/29/2005 6:52:49 AM PDT by SJackson
The Republican leaders in the Senate do not have to make the false choice between endless toleration of Democratic filibusters that enfeeble their majority and the so-called nuclear option a ruling that filibusters of judicial nominations are unconstitutional which will set off partisan wrangling for the balance of the Bush tenure.
It is absurd to try to tell the American people why filibusters of judicial nominations violate the Constitution while those of presidential nonjudicial appointments and of regular legislation do not. The American people are going to see the denial of the right of unlimited debate as the equivalent of FDRs court-packing plan, which doomed the second term of his presidency to utter failure (he had a pretty good third term, winning the war).
The better way to proceed is to make the filibuster radioactive politically by letting the Democrats talk themselves to death. Give them enough rope and they will hang themselves by their vocal cords.
Frist just needs to end the virtual filibuster and make the Democrats stage a real one, replete with quorum calls, 24/7 sessions and truly endless debate covered word for word by C-SPAN for all the nation to see and ridicule.
Frist should bring up a judicial nomination of little consequence for the nation say Charles Pickering and let the Democrats explain, at tedious length, why they are tying up the entire nation over a judgeship for Mississippi. While the public would possibly tolerate a filibuster over a Supreme Court nomination or over a particularly important piece of legislation with enormous consequence, they would never allow a filibuster over so inconsequential an item, and the backlash would be fierce.
To force the Democrats to filibuster over such a matter would be akin to the way President Clinton forced the Republicans to shut down the government in the budget fight. In the era of 24-hour news and cable TV, the Democrats will find that they cannot stage a real, red-blooded filibuster without hurting themselves politically each day they talk.
A filibuster would attract wide notice. Bring the cots into the Democratic and Republican antechambers and stage quorum calls throughout the night, as in the old days of civil-rights legislation, and the nation will notice. The Democrats will leave America to wonder why they are spending all of their time debating a judgeship in Mississippi when they are not addressing the problems of healthcare, energy, gas prices, the economy, Social Security reform and the preservation and expansion of Medicare. The endless debate over so minor an item will make the country disgusted and will expose all to the true perils of unbridled partisanship in Washington.
When vote after vote for cloture fails, usually by the same deadening margin, the voters will increasingly see the case for squelching the filibuster and then the nuclear option would be welcome by the nation.
The Republican leaders, and the Democratic majority leader before them, have allowed the filibuster to be rehabilitated in the public mind by agreeing not to stage one. The gentlemanly filibusters of the modern era, where each side concedes unless one has 60 votes, have permitted virtual filibusters that incur no public wrath.
But lets remember that it was the specter of the Senates being tied in knots by Sen. Richard Russell, D-Ga., and his gang that doomed the South to accepting civil-rights legislation. When Hubert Humphrey and his allies had to sleep in the Senate chamber so that minorities could get the right to vote, America saw the excesses to which the South would go to deny minorities their rights.
Frist and the GOP need to let the Democrats demonstrate how noxious the filibuster really is before they try to explain to America why they are curtailing it. And the best way to do that is to let the Democrats deploy their weapon. Call their bluff. And let er rip!
Bring back the catheters and the 2:30am readings of the Sears Catalog.
I'm a little suprised that Robert Byrd isn't calling for a return of the old filibuster rules. He would be a natural.
I totally agree with Dick Morris.
I have said this before... If they want to filibuster, make them do it.
Do it, do it, DO IT!!
I'm just heading out for some shopping - if I pick up some sleeping bags & send them to my Senators, do you think they'll get the hint?
Russell's gang included Sheets Byrd, BTW. And I totally agree. Don't end the filibuster. End the pretend "virtual" filibuster. Make these bozos stand in public and deliver and watch how fast they cave.
How do they get away with this virtual crap anyway?
All those clowns should take a real trip out of the country for good.
It will be interesting to see if Frist and
Cheney have the nuts to demand a return to the
When-Who was virtual filibuster invented?
Gore had a good idea, that Congress should vote
that the 9th circuit doesn't exist.
Now how to we get the Republicans to develop the spines capable of doing this?
The dims need only 2 or 3 people on the floor, while the rest of them are at home. We need 50 all the time or the dim suggests the absence of a quorum. Just how do we keep 50 there while they work in shifts of three?
Breaking a filibuster works against one or a handful, not against 45. Thinking this tactic will break the dims is wrong.
Time to end the thing period. Do away with it and if the dims put it back when they are next in charge and we are the minority GREAT. If not we can then ask why they don't since they like it so much!
Make them all work for their bloated paycheck. The reason the GOP doesn't want to do this is because they will have to stick around close in case there is a call for a vote. Make both parties work for a living instead of every 6 years.
The burden then shifts to the party that wants to take the vote. Since the Senate disposed of the "move the last question" rule in 1806, it takes more than a majority of Senators to get to the vote.
A formal method of getting to the vote was put in place in 1917 ... cloture.
Even Gold & Gupta's article doesn't explain the difference between "one track" to "two track" procedures in the Senate, or how that difference might force a party opposed to taking the vote to take the podium and talk. The only think I can think of is that the "one track" system requires all business brought to the floor to be disposed of, before moving on. Even then, if one Senator objects, there is no vote (until cloture is satisfied). Nobody has to talk. They can sit there like bumps on a log. The can stall process with incessant calls for filibuster, reading of bills, and any number of parliamentary procedures.
Sorry for rambling there. I'm still looking for an explanation of how to force a DEM to take the floor.
2 or 3 minority on the floor, would be a good
time for a cloture vote.
Thanks for the explanations.
Three-fifths of those present and voting is not
It will be interesting to see if greesepaint and other posters have the smarts to see that a traditional filibuster would hurt the Republicans.
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