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View Diary: The Filibuster is Not a Check or Balance (47 comments)

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    ladybug53, stormicats, mkor7

    There are probably times when the filibuster is appropriate. But for the most part it should be gone. Perhaps there should be a rule to permit extended discussion if an issue is deemed critical by some small group of Senators. But that would mean a long discussion, culminating in a vote.

    One place where there should have been a filibuster is over DOMA. This was a piece of legislation intended to take away the rights of a minority. It should have been roundly filibustered by the Democrats.

    But the normal business of government should not be stopped at any point.

    I think that it would be possible right now to get a bill through against the filibuster if we had 50 Senators devoted to it and a VP willing to go to bat. One of those Senators on the majority side should put up a bill under what I call "Constitutional rules". That is, the bill itself should specify the rules under which it will be considered and voted on.

    The opposition will, of course, object. Then the president of the Senate (in this example, the VP) would rule the bill valid. The opposition would object to the ruling of the chair and that would come to a vote.

    That vote would be decided under current rules by a majority and it would not be debatable. Since there would be 50 Senators and the VP to uphold, the chair would be upheld and the bill would go forward.

    This would permanently get rid of the filibuster because it would be clear that it could not be sustained if there were a clear majority to pass a bill.

    What, exactly, would this require that we don't have right now? Well, guts.

    So, don't expect the filibuster to go away any time soon.

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