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Friday, April 22, 2005

History and the Filibuster

--posted by Tony Garcia on 4/22/2005

(H/T: Doug at Bogus Gold)

History and the Filibuster

Great piece about the history of the filibuster (and ultimately why the left is historically incorrect about the filibuster being a Constitutionally protected rule).
In the 1806 codification of the Senate rules by then Vice-President Aaron Burr, there was acknowledged oversight which allowed for unlimited debate. Rather than filibusters in the Senate being a Constitutional provision, filibusters were introduced by accident. The use of unlimited debate to prevent bringing a bill to the floor was first employed in disputes over the Bank of the United States in the 1830s. Though the filibuster was infrequently used, for 111 years (1806 to 1917), a single Senator could prevent a vote on a bill by simply continuing talk. This is the ultimate in minority rights. A single Senator could stop the Senate from action.

If you ever hear the left talking about the GOP blocking a liberal from ascending to Cheif Justice (Abe Fortas in 1968). Here is the crucial part that the left will not tell you about that proper use of advise and consent.
the Abe Fortas case was atypical since it was revealed in hearings that Fortas kept President Lyndon Johnson informed of the secret deliberations of the Court and had accepted what seemed to be excessive and inappropriate private payments for teaching a summer course at American University

The Democrats position on protecting the filibuster is highly hypocritical. Byrd opposes changing the rules regarding filibuster even though he changed the rule to end a filibuster from requiring 67 votes down to 60 votes...enough then for his majority party to end debate.

Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said before the nominees were Republican that "It is not the role of the Senate to obstruct the process and prevent numbers of highly qualified nominees from even being given the opportunity for a vote on the Senate floor."

Diane Feinstein (D-CA) averred, "Our institutional integrity requires an up-or-down vote."

Edward Kennedy (D-MA) indignantly argued, "We owe it to Americans across the country to give these nominees a vote. If our Republican colleagues don't like them, vote against them. But give them a vote."


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