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Crumbling The Filibuster

Well, this happened. The Senate has voted for a partial nuclear option on the filibuster. Legislation and Supreme Court justices will still require 60 votes. But other nominees will only need a majority. Normally, senate rule changes require 67 vote, but Reid used a different procedure to pass the change 52-48. The primary issue here was the filibustering of three judicial nominees to bring the DC Circuit to its usual contingent of 11 judges.

As you can imagine, the Republicans are furious and are threatening future actions, including other rule changes by majority once they have the Senate back. It also being pointed out … quite correctly … that the Democrats are raging hypocrites on this subject, having spent the Bush years yammering on about process and sacred institutions and traditions. It was only when their judicial nominees were stalled that the suddenly discovered majoritarianism. I can almost guarantee that when the Democrats lose the Senate, they will unpass this rule change during the lame duck session than scream bloody murder when the Republicans try to restore it.

As for the rule change itself, my reaction is that I wish the Republicans had done this ten years ago. They sorta did when the Gang of 14 got judicial nominees through without compromising the filibuster itself. But I wish they’d made this kind of rule change to solve the problem long-term.

The filibuster is a critical check on the majority. It has stopped some of Obama’s dumber ideas (like card check) and almost stopped Obamacare. But I draw the line when it’s being used to hold up nominations that the President is obligated to make. There are nearly a hundred vacancies in courts around the country — vacancies that are slowing court cases and hurting businesses that need legal issues resolved. I spent most of the Bush years attacking Democrats for holding up Bush’s nominees (Janice Rogers Brown in particular); I’m disappointed that the Republicans decided to play the same game.

(While I’m on the subject, I do want to take on one talking point that the anti-filibusterites suddenly discovered when it was derailing their agenda. They frequently point out that the filibuster would theoretically allow senators representing 20.5 states and as little as 11% of the population to stop the Senate. But that has nothing to do with the filibuster; that’s the way the Senate is constructed. It is also theoretically possible for senators representing 25 states and 18% of the population to constitution a “majority”. The point of Senate is not to represent the people; it’s to represent the states. I have a long post cooking on the “scrap the Constitution” meme that has recently emerged on the Left.)

I don’t like the way this has been done. The Republicans are right that the Democrats have opened a can of worms here to further rule changes and the Republicans going by the absolute strict letter of Senate procedure to slow business even further. The way this should have been done is with another Gang of 14.

19 comments

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  1. Seattle Outcast says:

    I decided a long time ago that Reid’s use of “different procedures” basically amounted to him not giving a rat and shoving things thru for his own amusement.

    A few years in prison for the SOB seem appropriate.

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  2. Dave D says:

    “The Republicans are right ”

    Ouch! That must have hurt, Hal!!!!!!!!

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  3. Hal_10000 says:

    “The Republicans are right ”

    Ouch! That must have hurt, Hal!!!!!!!!

    Nah. I’ve got old calluses from saying that throughout the 90′s.

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  4. Seattle Outcast says:

    On a related note, the Senate Dem’s have already started feeling the pain. They can pretty much forget any progrtard legislative agenda making it to the WH over the next year as the GOP has decided to fucking play hardball with these dipshits.

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  5. Miguelito says:

    How many people, upon reading about this, remembered all the times Lee would point out when Bush did something that we should think about how it’ll be done (likely worse) by the next guy due to precedent? You know what’ll happen if the Repubs win the senate back… Reid will try to undo the rule before the end of their session and likely Repubs will flip it back and stick it to them.

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  6. yabkpjo says:

    An MSNBC host recently said that the Republicans only have a Senate minority capable of filibustering because of ‘gerrymandering’ (which apparently can now apply to state-wide elections) – that so perfectly summarizes the hard left’s attitude towards lower population states having a voice in the federal gov’t.

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  7. Seattle Outcast says:

    Funny, gerrymandering is the only reason many politicians get elected at all – mostly dems. Can you imagine someone as divorced from reality as Pelosi getting elected if it WASN’T for gerrymandering?

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  8. salinger says:

    Funny, gerrymandering is the only reason many politicians get elected at all – mostly dems. Can you imagine someone as divorced from reality as Pelosi

    The actual facts are that more democrats cast votes across the nation than republicans. Gerrymandering has benefited republicans more than democrats for the last two decades. Relevant studies put the number of current congressional seats aided by gerrymandering at +11 for republicans. Generally dems win by large margins and republicans by smaller close races.

    Here’s a recent story that highlights this: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-republicans-rig-the-game-20131111

    Shoot the messenger if you must, but please cite some facts and research which contradict the story while doing so.

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  9. balthazar says:

    rolling stone… that bastion of fair reporting….

    are you really that clueless or are your actually as retarded as I suspect you are?

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  10. salinger says:

    are you really that clueless or are your actually as retarded as I suspect you are?

    Shoot the messenger if you must, but please cite some facts and research which contradict the story while doing so.

    Thanks for playing.

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  11. balthazar says:

    Ignore your obviously biased source too dumbfuck.

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  12. AlexInCT says:

    The actual facts are that more democrats cast votes across the nation than republicans.

    Does that account for people that vote more than once, dead people or felons voting, or for people that have their votes bought and are bused to the polls? Because I am very certain that if the system had less tolerance for the abuses democrats impose on it they wouldn’t win many elections.

    Al Franken, amongst a long and distinguished list of others that won elections when just enough ballots were “miraculously” found after the tally was completed to eek out a win, were not available for comment.

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  13. Hal_10000 says:

    Salinger, it’s true that the Dems got more votes for Congress. But the GOP majority is not because of gerrymandering. Someone (Silver maybe?) looked into this. The problem for Democrats is that they have parts of the country where the get 90-100% of the vote. There are districts that in 2008 and 2012 had single digit votes for the Republican. Unless you take little pie slices of the cities and extend them out into the suburbs — which is what Maryland did to get rid of their GOP congressman — you will get a Republican majority with the current setup.

    An MSNBC host recently said that the Republicans only have a Senate minority capable of filibustering because of ‘gerrymandering’ (which apparently can now apply to state-wide elections) – that so perfectly summarizes the hard left’s attitude towards lower population states having a voice in the federal gov’t.

    1) Um, how you gerry-mander an entire state?

    2) She’s full of shit. The states that have Republican senators represent 41% of the population.

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  14. salinger says:

    Hal, thank you for your response. I’m not following it though. I think maybe you left out a sentence or two. What do you mean by the current set up, what do you mean by the single digit republican results and how does that fit in? This whole paragraph is a bit disjointed for me.

    Where is the article and research by this someone (who might be Silver,) how did he look into this?

    What in the rolling stone article is false and why?

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  15. Section8 says:

    Debunking the conspiracy theory

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  16. CM says:

    “…are your actually retarded”…..brilliant as usual

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  17. balthazar says:

    “…are your actually retarded”…..brilliant as usual

    Last bastion of people who have no legs to stand on. attack the spelling and grammar.

    STFU douche

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  18. CM says:

    It just happens EVERY TIME. And I have plenty of legs.

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  19. Section8 says:

    And I have plenty of legs.

    Like most roaches.

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