Busting The Filibuster
Senator Harry Reid has made filibuster reform a priority and four congressmen are suing to get it declared unconstitutional. Is obstructionism finally on the way out?
Originally aired on November 9, 2012
KEY READ: Filibuster Reform Will Be Pursued
In Senator Harry Reid’s first post-election press conference, the Nevada Democrat said he wouldn’t go so far as to eliminate the filibuster, which requires 60 votes for the chamber to enter and exit the amendment and debate process. But in remarks meant to preview a more combative approach during the next session, he warned Republicans that obstructionism as a tactic won’t be tolerated — or as technically feasible.
Reps. John Lewis, D-GA, Michael Michaud, D-ME, Hank Johnson, D-GA, and Keith Ellison, D-MN. argue that the Constitution sets out super-majority requirements only in special cases, to override a presidential veto or ratify a treaty, for example. It does not permit the Senate to require more than a simple majority just to begin debate; and the Supreme Court already has said that a legislative body’s rules cannot conflict with the Constitution.
MUST SEE: The Actual Legal Complaint
Read more about the reasons why Common Cause is filing suit today to stop filibustering.
GUEST BLOG: Kill The Filibuster
Aaron Belkins writes, “Election day 2012 was a great day on so many levels, but one of the most pleasant surprises was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s pledge to consider reforming the filibuster, the antiquated Senate rule that allows a minority to block legislation. Senator Reid has made similar pledges in the past without taking action, but hopefully this time he is serious.”
Green groups said Wednesday that they plan to make Senate rules reform to limit filibusters one of their top priorities heading into the next Congress.
MISLEADING: The Downside To Filibuster Reform
South Carolina Republican Senator Jim Demint argues that Reid’s call for reform would do away with the minority’s historic rights because they are an inconvenience to the Democrats’ liberal, uncompromising political agenda.