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The Filibuster is Unconstitutional

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  • The Filibuster is Unconstitutional



    “You’ve probably been hearing a lot about the filibuster these days. But here’s one thing about this old Senate rule you might not know: the filibuster actually violates the Constitution.

    41 Senate Republicans, who represent only 21 percent of the American population, are blocking the “For the People Act,” which is supported by 67 percent of Americans. They’re also blocking an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, supported by 62 percent of Americans. And so much else.

    Even some so-called moderate Democrats, like Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema, have outsized power to block crucial legislation thanks to the filibuster. Many of those who defend the filibuster consider themselves “originalists,” who claim to be following the Constitution as the Framers intended.

    But the filibuster is not in the Constitution. In fact, the Framers of the Constitution went to great lengths to ensure that a minority of senators could not thwart the wishes of the majority.

    After all, a major reason they called the Constitutional Convention was that the Articles of Confederation (the precursor to the Constitution) required a super-majority vote of nine of the thirteen states, making the government weak and ineffective.

    James Madison argued against any super-majority requirement, writing that “the fundamental principle of free government would be reversed," and “It would be no longer the majority that would rule: the power would be transferred to the minority." Alexander Hamilton, meanwhile, warned about “how much good may be prevented, and how much ill may be produced” if a minority in either house of Congress had “the power of hindering the doing what may be necessary.”

    Hence, the Framers required no more than a simple majority vote in both houses of Congress to pass legislation. They carved out specific exceptions, requiring a super-majority vote only for rare, high-stakes decisions:

    Impeachments.

    Expulsion of members.

    Overriding a presidential veto.

    Ratification of treaties.

    Constitutional amendments.

    By being explicit about these exceptions where a super-majority is necessary, the Framers underscored their commitment to majority rule for the normal business of the nation.

    They would have balked at the notion of a minority of senators continually obstructing the majority, which is now the case with the filibuster.

    So where did the filibuster come from?

    The Senate needed a mechanism to end debate on proposed laws, and move laws to a vote — a problem the Framers didn’t anticipate. In 1841, a small group of senators took full advantage of this oversight to stage the first filibuster. They hoped to hamstring the Senate and force their opponents to give in by prolonging debate and delaying a vote.

    This was what became known as the “talking filibuster” as popularized in the film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. But the results were hardly admirable.

    After the Civil War, the filibuster was used by Southern politicians to defeat Reconstruction legislation, including bills to protect the voting rights of Black Americans.

    In 1917, as a result of pressure from President Woodrow Wilson and the public, the Senate finally adopted a procedure for limiting debate and ending filibusters with a two-thirds vote (67 votes). In the 1970s, the Senate reduced the number of votes required to end debate down to 60, and no longer required constant talking to delay a vote. 41 votes would do it.

    Throughout much of the 20th century, despite all the rule changes, filibusters remained rare. Southern senators mainly used them to block anti-lynching, fair employment, voting rights, and other critical civil rights bills.

    That all changed in 2006, after Democrats won a majority of Senate seats. Senate Republicans, now in the minority, used the 60-vote requirement with unprecedented frequency. After Barack Obama became president in 2008, the Republican minority blocked virtually every significant piece of legislation. Nothing could move without 60 votes.

    In 2009, a record 67 filibusters occurred during the first half of the 111th Congress — double the entire 20-year period between 1950 and 1969. By the time the 111th Congress adjourned in December 2010, the filibuster count had ballooned to 137.

    Now we have a total mockery of majority rule. And it bears repeating that just 41 Senate Republicans, representing only 21 percent of the country, are blocking critical laws supported by the vast majority of Americans.

    This is exactly the opposite of what the framers of the Constitution intended. They unequivocally rejected the notion that a minority of Senators could obstruct the majority.

    Every time Republicans use or defend the filibuster they’re directly violating the Constitution — the document they claim to be dedicated to. How can someone profess to be an “originalist” and defend the Constitution while repeatedly violating it?

    Senators whose votes have been blocked by a minority should have standing to take this issue to the Supreme Court. And the Court should abolish the filibuster as violating the U.S. Constitution.”

    - Robert Reich


  • #2
    Non partisan redistricting in some states should help with the minority holding the rest of the country hostage. It would be nice to see that happen in all states…

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by B-Large View Post
      Non partisan redistricting in some states should help with the minority holding the rest of the country hostage. It would be nice to see that happen in all states…
      HR-1 (For the People Act) requires all states to stop gerrymandering congressional districts and set-up independent non-partisan committee to establish those districts.

      Comment


      • #4
        A Senate candidate sent a fundraising e-mail to me. Nothing new there. But I sent him a note that the Senate was worthless as teats on a boar hog. The idea that the entire effort to do work that actually benefits people can be stopped by one Senator is repugnant. Further, the filibuster rule is an artificial barrier to assuring liberty and justice to all Americans was simply childish, petty, partisan and ignorant. I have not heard from that Senator, but I did get another fundraising email. I guess deafness is a requirement of the office. I will not contribute to him this year until he answers me. And he is the candidate I would otherwise support.

        Ranting on a silly football board does not change a tricking thing. But so you know, I am tricking tired of childish, partisan, petty, ignorant BALONEY. I am too old now, but New Zealand sounds like a better place than this.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by elsid13 View Post

          HR-1 (For the People Act) requires all states to stop gerrymandering congressional districts and set-up independent non-partisan committee to establish those districts.
          Colorado has done that, but the partisan BS still prevails.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Paladin View Post
            Ranting on a silly football board does not change a tricking thing. But so you know, I am tricking tired of childish, partisan, petty, ignorant BALONEY. I am too old now, but New Zealand sounds like a better place than this.
            Lol New Zealand is more retarded than we are.

            https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc...a-58241619.amp

            Comment


            • #7
              The idea doesn't require a specific place. It is a sentiment. But your partisanship filters out the thought in the message.

              Comment


              • #8
                But it was used by Democrats between 2016-2020 more so than any time in history.

                2020 alone democrats used the filibuster countless times and celebrated it.



                the entire system is a joke. Neither party compromises anymore to the point they’ll object to shit they were proponents for months before….

                Comment


                • #9
                  IDGAF who used the fillibuster. It is wrong! Perhaps some of those worthless bungholes would start thinking about what is good for the Country. Compromise is not a dirty word. Inaction and hiding behind artificial, arbitrary rules is wrong!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Paladin View Post
                    IDGAF who used the fillibuster. It is wrong! Perhaps some of those worthless bungholes would start thinking about what is good for the Country. Compromise is not a dirty word. Inaction and hiding behind artificial, arbitrary rules is wrong!
                    The USA has become the exact opposite of what the founders intended, i.e., a plutocracy.

                    Unfortunately, any challenge to the plutocrats is decried as “Marxism” by the useful idiots in the red caps.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Senators do not represent population as the article states. They represent the States. The House represents the population of those States. Carry on.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        We know that. But they do re[resent the people of a state. Ultimately, we vote for them. Like a used car, you get lemons sometimes.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Paladin View Post
                          We know that. But they do represent the people of a state. Ultimately, we vote for them. Like a used car, you get lemons sometimes.
                          Hard to believe this needs to be explained to him.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Garcia Bronco View Post
                            Senators do not represent population as the article states. They represent the States. The House represents the population of those States. Carry on.
                            L0L.

                            What do you think a "state" is? Does it continue to exist as a political construct if no one lives in it?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              To become a State, didn't the area have to meet minimum population numbers? The Feds took the legislature out of the Seator selection, they are elected by the people. Who pays their salaries

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Oy veh...new board...same ...government intelligence level. They represent the State as a whole and every State gets two of them. Thus, bringing up a States population is nonsense. The filibuster isn't unconstitutional either. It's a debate/compromise/negotiations tactic and the Congress has a written in the document right to determine how it will manage itself.

                                We are also not nor designed to be a majority rule State. Good grief.

                                Ergo LABF...your article you shared with us is trash...like all the other stuff you find in the internet.

                                God bless.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Garcia Bronco View Post
                                  Oy veh...new board...same ...government intelligence level. They represent the State as a whole and every State gets two of them. Thus, bringing up a States population is nonsense. The filibuster isn't unconstitutional either. It's a debate/compromise/negotiations tactic and the Congress has a written in the document right to determine how it will manage itself.

                                  We are also not nor designed to be a majority rule State. Good grief.

                                  Ergo LABF...your article you shared with us is trash...like all the other stuff you find in the internet.

                                  God bless.
                                  Your reading comprehension is just as poor as ever.

                                  1. Once again, are you laboring under the assumption that a state, as a political construct, exists independent of its electorate?

                                  2. The filibuster isn't in the Constitution (which is the point of the article, BTW.)

                                  3. Per the article, which you obviously didn't bother to read:

                                  But the filibuster is not in the Constitution. In fact, the Framers of the Constitution went to great lengths to ensure that a minority of senators could not thwart the wishes of the majority.

                                  After all, a major reason they called the Constitutional Convention was that the Articles of Confederation (the precursor to the Constitution) required a super-majority vote of nine of the thirteen states, making the government weak and ineffective.

                                  James Madison argued against any super-majority requirement, writing that “the fundamental principle of free government would be reversed," and “It would be no longer the majority that would rule: the power would be transferred to the minority." Alexander Hamilton, meanwhile, warned about “how much good may be prevented, and how much ill may be produced” if a minority in either house of Congress had “the power of hindering the doing what may be necessary.”


                                  Hence, the Framers required no more than a simple majority vote in both houses of Congress to pass legislation. They carved out specific exceptions, requiring a super-majority vote only for rare, high-stakes decisions:

                                  Impeachments.

                                  Expulsion of members.

                                  Overriding a presidential veto.

                                  Ratification of treaties.

                                  Constitutional amendments.

                                  By being explicit about these exceptions where a super-majority is necessary, the Framers underscored their commitment to majority rule for the normal business of the nation.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    The current state of political affairs is an absolute cesspool.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Garcia Bronco View Post

                                      Ergo LABF...your article you shared with us is trash...like all the other stuff you find in the internet.
                                      I'll pit the author's qualifications, experience and general knowledge of the workings of government, the U.S. Constitution and American history against yours any day of the week.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Like most of life's problems, this one can be solved by applying The Wisdom of Star Trek


                                        A TASTE OF ARMAGEDDON

                                        Season 1, Episode 23 - Kirk and the crew were aghast when they encountered two planets at war in a distant star system, but they were shooting "blanks" at one another! Kirk and Spock soon learned the shocking news: Computers would tally where the blanks "hit," and everybody within that that area then had 48 hours to report to a "disintegration center" to be "humane-ly" killed. "We have taken the ugliness out of war," said Anon 7. "YOU DUMB BASTARDS" Kirk roared in response!

                                        .
                                        ... . . . Click image for larger version  Name:	kirk.PNG Views:	1 Size:	226.9 KB ID:	2096
                                        "... you made war neat and painless, so neat and painless, you
                                        ..have no reason to stop it! Death, destruction, disease, horror-
                                        ..THAT'S what war is all about! THAT'S what makes it a thing
                                        .,to be avoided, you dumb bastards!
                                        "

                                        __________________________________________________ _____________________


                                        WE HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM NOW

                                        Right up through the 1990s, the filibuster was a "talking filibuster." Senators are permitted to speak for as long they like, on any topic they choose, until 60 Senators (used to be 67) would vote "cloture" - to close debate and move to a vote. Usually that's simple, that's the rule. But somebody figured out how to weaponize that rule: One guy just goes on and on and on and on, sometimes for DAYS and DAYS and DAYS ... that's what Jimmy Stewart did in the movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." If the speaker refused to stop, and followed some small rules while speaking, the Senate would grind to a halt.

                                        Click image for larger version  Name:	smith-gif.gif Views:	1 Size:	991.8 KB ID:	2093 Click image for larger version  Name:	alexsm.PNG Views:	1 Size:	56.6 KB ID:	2094 Click image for larger version  Name:	smith-gif2.gif Views:	1 Size:	935.7 KB ID:	2095
                                        . . Click image for larger version  Name:	cots.PNG Views:	1 Size:	105.7 KB ID:	2097
                                        .. Because they had to be ready to race out to the Senate floor to vote for cloture,
                                        the Senators had to set up a few dozen cots in a nearby room. A roomful of grown
                                        . ..men having a slumber party? Guys in this pic are camping out during a 1965
                                        . ..filibuster of the Voting Rights Act. Could you imagine spotting two Senators
                                        . . . . . . n. isolating in a corner, say, Lindsey Graham and ... Ted Cruz?




                                        But now...this 21st Century Senate has modified the filibuster into an "e-Mail Filibuster." All the minority party must do is e-Mail their "intent to filibuster" a certain issue, and smooth as silk ... the majority automatically must round up 60 votes for cloture.

                                        They've DONE AWAY WITH THE UGLINESS OF THE FILIBUSTER! No more sweat-soaked over-acting! No more homo-erotic sleeping arrangements! NO MORE DEATH, DESTRUCTION AND DISEASE!!

                                        Comment


                                        • #21
                                          Where is Our James T. Kirk?!

                                          ..Click image for larger version  Name:	phaser.PNG Views:	1 Size:	234.3 KB ID:	2100

                                          .James T. Kirk destroys a disintegration center,
                                          .which TOTALLY pissed off the other planet. So
                                          . these two rival planets immediately called a
                                          cease-fire and began negotiating to end the war.



                                          That was SO EASY!

                                          Who can we turn to now? Who will destroy the "e-Mail filibuster" with a phaser set on "kill"? Only one senator has shown an interest in going back to the "talking filibuster," Lindsey Graham of S. Caroline - a Republican - says he'll do what he can to revert the Senate procedre back to the talking filibuster.

                                          Comment


                                          • #22
                                            Originally posted by L.A. BRONCOS FAN View Post

                                            Your reading comprehension is just as poor as ever.

                                            1. Once again, are you laboring under the assumption that a state, as a political construct, exists independent of its electorate?

                                            2. The filibuster isn't in the Constitution (which is the point of the article, BTW.)

                                            3. Per the article, which you obviously didn't bother to read:
                                            Except your own article clearly lists out areas where a straight majority is skewed as a check and a balance. All of that being here nor there because they haven't actually voted on the bill yet. Further still, the Senate can set its own procedural rules and its an Article 1. The electorate is not mutually exclusive from the state, but the State is a separate entity. Bottomline..the Senators represent the State as an entity despite the fact they are no longer selected by the state legislatures and everybody gets two...so stating them in terms of population is dim.

                                            Comment


                                            • #23
                                              Originally posted by Garcia Bronco View Post

                                              Except your own article clearly lists out areas where a straight majority is skewed as a check and a balance. All of that being here nor there because they haven't actually voted on the bill yet. Further still, the Senate can set its own procedural rules and its an Article 1. The electorate is not mutually exclusive from the state, but the State is a separate entity. Bottomline..the Senators represent the State as an entity despite the fact they are no longer selected by the state legislatures and everybody gets two...so stating them in terms of population is dim.
                                              ^

                                              Need a word salad translator for this post.

                                              At any rate, either you didn't read the article, or you simply didn't understand what you read.

                                              Noted.

                                              Comment


                                              • #24
                                                Anyway, back to the original point of the article...


                                                But the filibuster is not in the Constitution. In fact, the Framers of the Constitution went to great lengths to ensure that a minority of senators could not thwart the wishes of the majority.

                                                After all, a major reason they called the Constitutional Convention was that the Articles of Confederation (the precursor to the Constitution) required a super-majority vote of nine of the thirteen states, making the government weak and ineffective.

                                                James Madison argued against any super-majority requirement, writing that “the fundamental principle of free government would be reversed," and “It would be no longer the majority that would rule: the power would be transferred to the minority." Alexander Hamilton, meanwhile, warned about “how much good may be prevented, and how much ill may be produced” if a minority in either house of Congress had “the power of hindering the doing what may be necessary.”

                                                Hence, the Framers required no more than a simple majority vote in both houses of Congress to pass legislation. They carved out specific exceptions, requiring a super-majority vote only for rare, high-stakes decisions:

                                                Impeachments.

                                                Expulsion of members.

                                                Overriding a presidential veto.

                                                Ratification of treaties.

                                                Constitutional amendments.

                                                By being explicit about these exceptions where a super-majority is necessary, the Framers underscored their commitment to majority rule for the normal business of the nation.

                                                They would have balked at the notion of a minority of senators continually obstructing the majority, which is now the case with the filibuster.

                                                Comment


                                                • #25
                                                  Earlier today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the Senate will debate and vote on filibuster reform within the next two weeks. The changes would likely allow Democrats to advance desperately needed voting rights legislation Senate Republicans have repeatedly blocked. This reform isn’t a done deal thanks to corporate Democrats Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, but it is certainly an overdue step in the right direction.

                                                  This is a welcome sign that Democrats are finally taking the threat to our democracy seriously. In the aftermath of the 2020 election and January 6th insurrection, state Republicans have advanced a wave of voter suppression bills. Last year, at least 19 states passed 34 laws that make it more difficult for citizens to vote — largely aimed at voters of color. Over 100 more are already on the table for this upcoming year. President Biden and Senate Democrats must act quickly and forcefully to enact voting rights. It’s far past time to put saving our democracy over saving the Jim Crow filibuster.

                                                  Schumer: Senate to vote on filibuster change on voting bill

                                                  https://apnews.com/article/elections...WazfMyBSSUidL4

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