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In an article yesterday, politico writes  Brown win could spark legal battle
Some conservatives are claiming, Temporary Senator Paul Kirk loses his vote on election night, and they will go to cort to fight it, claiming his vote violates the constitution.

But one thing that gets lost in all the chatter, Democrats still have the 51 votes required by the constitution to pass any legislation. Filibusters that's been used by Republicans lately in record numbers is just a Senate rule, they can choose to ignore it if they wish.

Originally posted to CPR on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 07:36 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That would be best (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluestorm, OleHippieChick

    The filibuster thing is getting ridiculous. They need to go back to either simple majority or make filibusterers filibust like the old days. Stay in the senate with the pee-can close by, with only 5 minute bathroom break for female senators.

  •  Tell me more (0+ / 0-)

    they can choose to ignore it if they will

    Notice: This Comment © 2010 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 07:41:06 AM PST

    •  My understanding is (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bustacap, WinSmith, Spoc42, millwood

      The Senate is the biggest bunch of divas and prima donnas you've ever fucking seen.  Every one of them seems to have an ego the size of fucking Jupiter, and it's as fragile as micrometer-thin crystal.  

      They need to be constantly reassured that their contribution to the process is vital and that none of them will be so gauche as to offend one of the others.  Unless, of course, you're a Republican in which case fuck the rules and fuck those pansy Democrats.

      Republicans and personal responsibility are distant, estranged acquaintances.

      by slippytoad on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 08:05:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The feasibility of the "nuclear option" (0+ / 0-)

      depends on the ability of a majority of the members of  the Senate to simply ignore the rule on cloture.  As explained in a prior dairy by smgoma,

      In 2005, then Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist threatened to end Democratic filibuster of judicial nominees by something called the "nuclear option." It is actually a series of steps designed to bypass the two-thirds vote requirement to change rules: (cite)

       1. The Senate moves to vote on a controversial nominee.
       2. At least 41 Senators call for filibuster.
       3. The Senate Majority Leader raises a point of order, saying debate has gone on long enough and that a vote must be taken within a certain time frame. (Current Senate rules requires a cloture vote at this point.)
       4. The Vice President -- acting as presiding officer -- sustains the point of order.
       5. A Democratic Senator appeals the decision.
       6. A Republican Senator moves to table the motion on the floor (the appeal).
       7. This vote - to table the appeal - is procedural and cannot be subjected to a filibuster; it requires only a majority vote (in case of a tie, the Vice President casts the tie-breaking vote).
       8. With debate ended, the Senate would vote on the issue at hand; this vote requires only a majority of those voting. The filibuster has effectively been closed with a majority vote instead of a three-fifths vote.

      The same scenario would work to enact HCR by 51 votes.

      There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress. -- Mark Twain

      by southriver on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 10:02:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Um (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming

    This should be a note to Senate Democrats.

  •  changing the filibuster rule would be (3+ / 0-)

    very good for the country. Doesnt matter if you are republican or democrat, the intent is for 51 votes to decide policy unless specifically stated differently like an amendment.

  •  The Massachusetts law is clear (4+ / 0-)

    It provides that the appointee of the Governor (Kirk) "shall serve until the election and qualification of the person duly elected to fill the vacancy."

    •  "Qualification" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leroy the Roadie

      Define "qualification", Franken wasnt seated untill all recounts and legal battles.

    •  MA Sec. of State (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OleHippieChick, Leroy the Roadie

      is on record as saying both state and federal (HAVA?) law REQUIRE him to wait 10 days after a special election for all absentee ballots to arrive at precincts (esp. from overseas military personnel.) So earliest certification of winner will be Jan. 29/30.

      To do otherwise would be to BREAK THE LAW.

      SOOOoooo if this awful scenario comes to pass, can we expect the Brooks Brothers Rioteers (last seen in Miami in 2000) to descend upon Boston and start up with their stylish new chant from the Goebbels Institute?
      "Break the law!" "Break the law!" "Break the law!"

      THAT would be worth watching, recording, and playing at every Republican candidate event for the next 10 years........before arresting every last one of them.


      "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

      by WineRev on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 08:01:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The filibuster tradition is a tool (0+ / 0-)

    for the status quo; passing the current healthcare bill by 51, 52 votes would guarantee large Republican victories in the fall election. It's not the Kos complainers that are the problems, not even the Firedoglake egotists who have certainly disappointed me, it's that not one American in ten has confidence in the US government after watching the circus of the last 8 months. They don't understand the healthcare bill, but they "know enough" to reject it.

    Clinton's "experts working in secret" failed, Obama's "let the healthcare lobbyists stand up and be heard" came to the same end.

    •  so what's your solution (0+ / 0-)

      You say passing HCR with an iron fist, will backfire, but than you cry for the 8 months wasted in cutting deals. I say they should have passed HCR via Reconciliation 8 months ago.

  •  this is a ploy to make a Brown win seem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    more inevitable. I recognized it because it had that effect on me, like the election itself is already a done deal. When people feel like they know who is going to win they either stay home or are more likely to support the presumed winner.

  •  dems may know this, but it doesn't matter... (0+ / 0-)

    they are doing their best to make certain rethugs gain seats, perhaps even control.

    Never walk into a public restroom while breathing through your mouth.

    by quityurkidding on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 08:19:10 AM PST

  •  Well - no. (0+ / 0-)

    51 votes for things that affect the budget.

    Basically, they could pass SOME elements of the health care bill, but others they would have to vote on separately.

    For example, they can't pass the no pre-existing conditions aspect of the bill with reconciliation.


    •  The diarist is right, kinda (0+ / 0-)

      The Senate sets its own governing rules at the beginning of each session.  So every two years, they decide whether or not to require a supermajority for cloture, rather than a simple majority.  So no, the Democrats can't just end the filibuster today, but they could next January.

      A health care worker, beaten at work, then denied health care:

      by cartwrightdale on Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 08:43:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans are in bed with trial lawyers. Sue, (0+ / 0-)

    sue, sue, that's all they are talking about. Contrary to the suits they rail against, this would truly be frivolous and would not survive a motion to dismiss. Election is not final until the results are certified. That is the law. The politics of the question are, of course, a completely different matter.

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