December 3, 2013
Re "Minority rule in the Senate," Opinion, Dec. 1 Joyce Appleby would eliminate the filibuster, arguing that the Founding Fathers, having entrenched an inequality of representation in the Senate, certainly did not want to deviate further from majority rule. She refers to James Madison's opinion that requiring a supermajority would reverse the fundamental principle of free government. During the debates over the Constitution and the question of a Bill of Rights, however, Madison argued differently.
January 2, 2013 |
On Jan. 3, there's a chance that the U.S. Senate will return to some semblance of a functioning legislative body. That day a majority of senators could vote to eliminate Rule XXII, which authorizes the notorious filibuster. Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution, which gives to both houses of Congress the determination of "the rules of its proceedings," offers that opportunity on the first day of each new Congress. The filibuster, which requires a supermajority to cut off debate, entered the Senate's rules in 1807 as a courtesy to speakers.
March 6, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- What began as Rand Paul's one-man crusade to press the Obama administration for clarity regarding its prosecution of U.S. citizens suspected of terrorist ties became a bipartisan spectacle in the Senate chamber Wednesday -- one that delayed a vote on the president's choice for a new CIA director. Senate leaders had said they could hold a vote on John Brennan's nomination as soon as Wednesday evening, barely 24 hours after a lopsided vote in his favor in the Intelligence Committee.
January 25, 2013
Senate leaders reached a compromise this week on limiting the filibuster, an obstructive procedural tactic that has become almost as routine on Capitol Hill as photo opportunities and news conferences. The Times' editorial board has long argued that the right approach would be to end the rule, not mend it. The best that can be said for this week's deal is that incremental progress toward a more functional Senate is better than no progress at all. The compromise struck Thursday between Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
June 26, 2013 |
Wendy Davis became a media star Tuesday, even though the major TV networks barely mentioned her. The 50-year-old Texas state senator waged a 10-hour-plus filibuster in Austin aimed at blocking a bill that would ban abortions at 20 weeks and force the state's abortion clinics to upgrade or close. In a dramatic example of the disconnect between social and mainstream media, Twitter and Facebook were aflame with arguments over the filibuster as it was happening, while TV news networks generally paid little or no attention, at least at first.
January 24, 2013 |
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid shocked and infuriated many of his fellow Democrats on Thursday when he backed away from his pledge to put an end to the curse of the filibuster. Minority Republicans have been flagrantly using the old filibuster ploy to block even the most mundane bills unless they can win votes from at least 60 of 100 senators. This has effectively stunted the Democrats' 53-seat majority and stifled initiatives from the Obama White House. In times past, the filibuster was a rarely invoked parliamentary rule that allowed a single senator to halt legislative business if he was willing to stay on the Senate floor and talk for hour after hour, risking a raw throat, sleep deprivation and a distended bladder.
June 26, 2013 |
Truth is stranger than fiction, and the Texas Legislature may be stranger than them all. On Tuesday night, state Sen. Wendy Davis attempted a herculean 13-hour filibuster to stop the passage of SB5, a bill seeking to ban, among other things, abortion at the 20-week mark. She got 11 hours of the way there and garnered huge support both at the Austin Statehouse and on social media. Yet she was thwarted by some persistent lawmakers, who were so persistent that they violated a midnight deadline - then time-stamped the vote for before midnight (before it was all reversed several hours later)
February 26, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Chuck Hagel moved a step closer to confirmation as Defense secretary after the Senate voted Tuesday afternoon 71-27 to end a GOP-led filibuster of his controversial nomination. A final vote is expected to take place at 1:30 p.m. PST. Hagel will likely win final confirmation with fewer votes, however, making him the first successful Pentagon chief to attain the post with more than two dissenting votes in decades. Leon Panetta, the outgoing secretary, was confirmed unanimously in 2011.
November 21, 2013 |
The sight of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) using procedural legerdemain to weaken the filibuster rule Thursday must have sent Robert C. Byrd spinning in his grave. The late Democratic senator from West Virginia was a stickler for Senate traditions and a staunch defender of the procedural kinks and quirks that make it so different from the House. The filibuster rule is Differentiator No. 1 because it prevents the majority party from running roughshod over the minority, which is how the House rolls (and not to its credit)