May 2, 2013 |
The U.S. Senate has not conducted any official business this week, so the American people have been at least temporarily protected from its stultifying refusal to represent them well. But the senators will eventually return - and will resume blocking judicial nominees, converting budget disagreements into crises and preventing the enactment of even the most paltry gun restrictions favored by the overwhelming majority of Americans and the clear majority of the Senate itself. This is not the first time in its history that the Senate, by virtue of its rules, has become an impediment to the popular will.
April 17, 2013 |
Patton Oswalt is guest starring in this week's "Parks and Recreation," but the most impressive thing about his appearance is what you won't see on NBC. As part of the episode, Oswalt's character was supposed to appear before a Pawnee City Council meeting and filibuster a proposed vote. Producers invited Oswalt to "ramble a bit about whatever subject he wanted. " Oswalt decided his topic of choice was a pitch for the upcoming "Star Wars Episode VII. " While we wouldn't dream of spoiling the twists and turns the story takes, let's just say that he's found a brilliant way to merge two of the Disney corporation's biggest franchises (and even one they don't own)
April 11, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Senate crossed the first of many hurdles Thursday in the drive to pass new gun legislation, with a bipartisan vote to begin what could be weeks of debate on the issue. By a 68-31 margin, senators moved to open formal consideration of a package of reforms to expand background checks, improve school safety and combat gun trafficking. Among Republicans, 16 voted yes, while two Democrats voted no and one did not vote. Next week senators will be able to offer amendments that pose the real test of whether the larger bill will succeed.
April 9, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Senate moved Tuesday to begin long-anticipated deliberations this week over new gun laws as Republicans appeared to lack the strength to block the debate and bipartisan talks over expanding background checks on gun buyers appeared to have led to a deal. Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.), who have been negotiating a compromise on background checks, scheduled a joint announcement for Wednesday morning at the Capitol. Talks are expected to begin Thursday.
March 22, 2013 |
New York lawyer Caitlin Halligan, who was first nominated to the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., almost 2 1/2 years ago, has asked President Obama to withdraw her nomination. As The Times noted in an editorial today, Halligan was the victim of a Republican filibuster in which all but one of the GOP senators voting refused to cut off debate on her nomination. Had the nomination proceeded to a floor vote, she almost certainly would have been confirmed. Liberals and Democrats will decry the sandbagging of Halligan, who was accused by Republicans of extremism because she once filed suit against gun manufacturers.
March 22, 2013 |
The Senate's habit of filibustering judicial nominees must end. Both Republicans and Democrats are to blame. Nearly two and a half years after she was first nominated, a candidate for a seat on a federal appeals court in Washington has been denied an up-or-down confirmation vote by Senate Republicans who persist in obstructing President Obama's judicial appointments. But the blame must be shared by the Senate's Democratic leadership, which can't bring itself to repudiate the undemocratic institution of the filibuster.