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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D-NV) speaks to reporters after Senate luncheons as he is accompanied by Sen. Jeff Merkley, (D-OR) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) at Capitol Hill in Washington, July 16, 2013. U.S. Senate negotiators neared a deal on Tu

Now that the filibuster is officially dead for nominations to the executive and the judiciary, with the exception of nominations to the Supreme Court, what happens next? For the relative short term, it should mean an Obama administration and a Democratic Senate hell-bent on seating federal judges to end the judicial emergency and put a progressive stamp on the federal judiciary for the next generation.

It means as well that the Senate still considers the Supreme Court extraordinary, and (hearkening back to the 2005 debate when the nuclear option was averted by the Gang of 14 agreeing to only filibuster nominees in extraordinary circumstances) will still allow the minority to have a significant check on appointments to that body. At least for now. Should President Obama have to fill a seat in the next three years, you can bet Republicans will be falling all over themselves to filibuster that one. They have not been chastened by this breaking of the filibuster—it's just made them more belligerent. (Example: Sen. Chuck Grassley, who is promising their won't be any circumspection from them over the Supreme Court if they get the majority back). Essentially, then, the filibuster for Supreme Court nominee's days are probably numbered. Which means Democrats have to keep at the Senate and the White House until the GOP as it exists today totally self-destructs. That could take a while.

There's still a big filibuster problem, however, demonstrated just hours after Senate Democrats pulled the nuclear trigger. Republicans have been obstructing movement on the defense authorization bill all week by refusing to allow the amendments on sexual assault to be considered. Fed up, Reid tried to move the bill clean, without any amendments, and the Republicans hinted at when he opened his remarks about the filibuster today. He rattled off all of the legislative efforts he and Democrats have pushed that have died by the filibuster.

It's not too likely that Democrats will act to reform the filibuster for legislation before the next "official" opportunity to do so, the beginning of the next Congress in January 2015. At that point, the reform that Sens. Tom Harkin, Jeff Merkley and Tom Udall have been working on for years should be put forward by what we hope will be the majority Democrats, to make the filibuster a real and difficult thing to accomplish again. Restoring the talking filibuster, the kind of filibuster Wendy David made famous, will be the end cap on fixing the Senate.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 01:45 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (38+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 01:45:35 PM PST

  •  Once Democratic Senators get a taste (13+ / 0-)

    of appointments with an up or down vote, and progress on that front, how are they going to go into the Senate chamber and just allow the Republicans to gum up the legislation?

    "Searches with nonspecific warrants were ‘the single immediate cause of the American Revolution.’” Justice Wm. Brennan, referring to the 4th Amendment

    by Nailbanger on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 01:53:31 PM PST

  •  filibuster shoes for everyone (4+ / 0-)
    6,390 of 6,521 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Marathon shoe for marathon filibustering
    The next time you have to spend 13 hours on your feet without food, water or bathroom breaks, this is the shoe for you. Guaranteed to outrun patriarchy on race day.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 01:57:19 PM PST

  •  We'll see what 2015 brings (12+ / 0-)

    Doesn't look like Republicans are ready to learn their Sharron Angle-Todd Akin lesson, and stop letting their krayzees throw away Senate seats.  If Dems can avoid grand bargains ans other self-inflicted wounds, the Democrats have a fairly good chance to hold onto the Senate.  If they do, they'll consolidate their hold in 2016, when the 2010 class will be up again in a presidential election year.  No telling when Republicans will get a chance to take it back after that.

    I think the risks to Dems of eliminating the filibuster are greatly exaggerated, if they can avoid their talent for shooting themselves in the foot.

    We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

    by Dallasdoc on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 02:06:02 PM PST

  •  They should just kill it outright and be done with (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, mconvente

    it so we don't have to have anymore of the psycho show.

  •  Next stop, eliminating the filibuster altogether (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, tmaguire18

    You know Mitch McConnell is going to get all hissy and filibuster absolutely everything that comes to the floor, including motions to break for lunch.  So, the next thing to do is eliminate every last filibuster.  If the obstructionists want to delay or prevent a bill from being voted on, they'll have to 'talk it to death'.  But make the rules for filibuster like the rules in the Texas Senate to keep McConnell honest.  Or at least try, to keep him honest anyway.

    •  I still would like a return to the old fashioned (0+ / 0-)

      fiillibuster, where you have to wear depends and pee in a bottle - and recite from the phone book, Winnie the Poo, etc.....what Ted Cruz did recently, I believe, helped to generate even more of a negative opinion of the Repubs than anyone could imagine. Millions of dollars of political advertising would not have accomplished the effects of public opinion the way that it did.....

  •  Question: Of the appointments that have been (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball, Amber6541

    recently filibustered, can the same names now be put forth again?

  •  I thought the gang of 14 was about the 14 reasons (0+ / 0-)

    the GOP would trot out whenever they filibustered, going forward.  

    I might be wrong about that but you can't deny that that's just about the way it turned out.

    "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi, 6/30/07 // "Succeed?" At what?

    by nailbender on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 02:18:13 PM PST

  •  Unless the dems regain control of the house (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente

    there is no real point in overturning the legislative filibuster...for the simple reason that no significant legislation will pass the house that senate dems would want to pass.

    There is also one more thing that should always be remembered about the legislative filibuster.  Even without the filibuster, it moves the swing vote from the 60th least progressive senator to the 50th least progressive senator.  According to Progressive Punch, the current 60th least progressive senator is Lisa Murkowski, the current 50th least progressive senator is Mark Pryor.  Better, but I doubt that many folks here would consider Mark Pryor to be our champion.

    I suspect that the legislative filibuster will end the next time one party controls the house, senate and white house.  But not before then.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 02:24:40 PM PST

    •  PS (0+ / 0-)

      Just for the record, Progressive Punch currently lists Elizabeth Warren as the 21st most progressive senator...that is, 20 senators are more progressive than she is...that is, she's pretty much a middle of the pack democrat.  Just something folks might think about as they consider her as the latest progressive champion.  She's not as progressive as many people think she is.

      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

      by Empty Vessel on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 02:31:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I disagree with your point about the SC, Joan: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DocGonzo, SouthernLeveller
    It means as well that the Senate still considers the Supreme Court extraordinary, and (hearkening back to the 2005 debate when the nuclear option was averted by the Gang of 14 agreeing to only filibuster nominees in extraordinary circumstances) will still allow the minority to have a significant check on appointments to that body.
    Reid & Co. just gave Republicans enough rope to hang themselves. Nominations to the Supreme Court are so high profile that the filibuster is of little real value. It does, however, give the minority a chance to publicly tee off on a minority or woman nominee, and the resulting flood of people who are turned off never hurts come November.
  •  Warned: (4+ / 0-)
    Sen. Chuck Grassley, who is promising their won't be any circumspection from them over the Supreme Court if they get the majority back
    Clearly we must not allow them to become the Majority in the Senate ever again.
    They have avowed to pack the courts as soon as they can, making official and overt the covert policy that they have followed for several decades. They slow-walked Carter's noms, leaving a backlog of vacancies that Reagan filled, they slow walked Clintons noms, leaving lots of vacancies that BushCheney filled, if anyone has a record of slyly packing the courts, it would be the GOP.
    Now they come out and use it as a threat!
    Enough! They are proving themselves to be intent on getting their way regardless.
    And we must prevent them from prevailing EVER AGAIN!

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 02:27:38 PM PST

  •  Maybe Reid should hold a separate vote to end (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente

    the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees! Think about it. Such a vote would not pass at this time but would put all republican senators on record voting against this rule change.

  •  More Aggression, Now (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente, SouthernLeveller, sidnora

    This is precisely the proper Democratic reaction to nuking the nomination filibuster: demand more nuking of more filibusters.

    Just as the response to "Grand Bargains" to cut SS and Medicare is demand more SS, and as the ACA looks rickety to demand Medicare for All.

    Republicans get what they want in no small part because they are always instantly ready to grab at any opportunity, real or imagined. The instant the power is in place, it's used to the hilt on a lonstanding agenda and constantly updated strategy, greased with constant, disciplined messaging.

    Democrats can get more by being ready to get more whenever any change takes place. Never let a crisis go to waste. The Shock Doctrine can work for whoever is prepared to work it.

    Opportunity favors the prepared mind.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 02:30:29 PM PST

  •  hmm . . . (0+ / 0-)
    and put a progressive stamp on the federal judiciary for the next generation.
    Center-right Democratic, if Obama appoints in his own image, but progressive?  We still have civil rights advocates on SCOTUS, but we haven't come terribly close to "progressive" on socioeconomic issues since the departure of William O. Douglas.  Okay, maybe Brennan and Thurgood Marshall.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 02:38:17 PM PST

  •  This is a start (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente

    now proceed to end ALL filibusters.

    Why would anyone not want to be a liberal?

    by LiberalBrooke on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 02:39:20 PM PST

  •  It will take decades (6+ / 0-)

    for Republicans to undo the good that was done today.  Democrats can now fill all federal judgeships with practical impunity.  These judges can be as young and liberal (read: honest) as we want.  They will serve for longer than if the GOP had a say in their nomination.

    Before Republicans can match this number of vacancies, they have to win both the Presidency and the Senate.  The presidency is at best a crapshoot for them, and while the Senate statistically looks promising for them next year, they're more likely than not to lose it again in 2016.

    But say everything goes their way.  President Rubio and Leader McConnell ram wingnuts into every available vacancy.  How many will be open after 3 years, and how many will be an R replacing a D?  Way fewer than the current number, I wager.

    Then there's the SCOTUS.  Ginsburg (especially) and Breyer need to think hard about retiring this year.  No one is immortal and if Rhenquist had survived 3 more years, there would have been no Citizens United because Obama would have named his replacement.   Let Scalia pull an O'Conner election night 2000 fit about his replacement all over again, but this time without being able to determine the outcome himself.

    It's dangerous hubris for any judge to think their continued tenure is more important than the party affiliation of the president who replaces them.  To think otherwise is to believe all these 5-4 rulings occur by random chance.

    First they came for the slippery-slope fallacists, and I said nothing. The End.

    by Cream Puff on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 02:44:02 PM PST

  •  The difference with the Supreme Court... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente

    is that if you want to filibuster a nominee, you'll have to do it in the light of day.  

    No filibustering with no legitimate excuse.  There will be tons of media attention.  Much harder to get away with the same shenanigans.

  •  Was the talking filibuster ever real? (0+ / 0-)

    Let's see some evidence...

  •  We Got A Shoutout on This! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente

    We of the GOS got a shoutout today regarding our efforts to support the filibuster rule change! And, we got called part of a Progressive victory!

    Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
    Economic
    Left/Right: -7.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

    by Bud Fields on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 02:54:46 PM PST

    •  And one of the persons here, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bud Fields

      if not the single person here who deserves the most credit, is our diarist.

      I was in that room in Las Vegas over three years ago when Joan McCarter pressured Harry Reid into a commitment to change the rule. At that time we expected it to happen the following January, which of course it did not.

      But Joan never stopped pushing for it, despite Reid's obvious reluctance that day and ever since. Thanks, Joan, and congratulations.

      "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

      by sidnora on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 04:17:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just think for a moment: (0+ / 0-)

    They did this so quickly, so easily...

    Boy, Insurance Companies really dodged a bullet back when the PO still looked like it was actually supported by the D's.  

    Ah.  Filibuster reform:

    -- Won't apply to SC nominees
    -- Won't apply to legislation

    Boy, those R's must be fuming.

    Waking Up Yet?

    The 1% are Purists: They only support Candidates that Deliver Results They Can Bank On. Don't they know they should compromise? /sarcasm

    by Johnathan Ivan on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 03:10:28 PM PST

  •  The Best way to fix the Fillibuster (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente

    is to get RID of the people that use it to deny the majority
    the ability to get things done.

    Right now, I want to see a long Parade  of qualified
    nominees to fill ALL those vacant positions.

    Aside from being a really good thing for the Judicial branch,
    all those votes will drive Mitch McConnell INSANE.

    The GOP house refusing to hold votes on ANYTHING is
    a perfect campaign issue for Democrats in 2015.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 03:11:50 PM PST

  •  Why it took so long -- Feinstein (0+ / 0-)

    Diane Feinstein is why this took so long, and why Reid will go slowly in extending what was done today.

    She was the 51st vote, and I think Barbara Boxer was deferring to her and was the 52nd. Mark Pryor, Joe Manchin and Carl Levin were the others. Can we hold those seats? That's a key question.

    We have our work cut out for us in holding the Senate in 2014. The Republicans may be the minority party, but they're using every trick in their arsenal -- including poll taxes (if they force you to buy an ID to vote it's a poll tax) -- to hold on to power and extend that power into the next generation.

    So let's stop talking and start doing. Organizing For America is going to have a lot of tools for us, but we have to use them in order to do the hard work of making sure every potential Democratic vote is registered and gets to the polls next year.

    Otherwise all this is for nothing.

    http://www.danablankenhorn.com

    by Dana Blankenhorn on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 05:52:15 PM PST

  •  Democrats have always allowed (0+ / 0-)

    The most reactionary Rightists onto the Supreme court anyway. So what difference will it make if they change the rule to allow reasonable people to be confirmed too?

    Democracy, period. And when we are collectively dumb enough to give Republicans power we need to suffer thew consequences for such stupidity in order to learn.

    The Democorporate faction of the party uses the Far Right as its excuse for moving further right.

    by masswaster on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:08:02 AM PST

  •  Wrong wrong wrong - filibuster must die altogether (0+ / 0-)

    The real significance of this historic day in our democracy is that the days of all filibusters should be numbered. I think progressives need to stop coddling the idea of the filibuster in any form -- talking or otherwise. The only filibuster reform idea I've hear worth a damn (other than outright killing it) is what I believe is an old idea of Harkin's, in which a filibuster can extend debate for  a limited time only. I don't understand the mystical hold that "talking filibuster" has over people -- it's still hostage-taking by a minority, and it's not democracy. The Senate's entire existence already is a huge compromise to popular democracy, by giving immensely inflated influence to geographic areas of limited population that happen to be  administered as states. There is no reason whatsoever in my view to compound that disproportionate influence by giving a minority of that minority the power to dictate policy to everyone else. For the same reason, it's time for the  anti-democratic abominations of personal holds to go as well.

    "Scrutinize the bill, it is you who must pay it...You must take over the leadership." - Brecht

    by pedestrian xing on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:28:28 AM PST

  •  Progressive Stamp? (0+ / 0-)

    Obama may appoint a few progressives, but Obama is truly a corporate Democrat who will put many more pro-corporate moderate Democrats (and maybe some Republicans) on the court.

    This will be better than the extreme right tilt from Reagan and Bush I and II, but doesn't mean Obama will promote progressives en masse.

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