12 votes

The Filibuster Is Chipped Away

Update: The Filibuster is not GONE as much as just chipped away. Dem @#$ERS!!

The Senate has voted to change one of the chamber's most fundamental rules, invoking the so-called 'nuclear option' for executive branch and non-Supreme Court judicial nominations.
Fifty-two Democrats voted for the measure, an unprecedented change previously threatened but not invoked until Thursday. Three Democrats -- Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Pryor of Arkansas -- voted with Republicans against the change.

While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., calls recent filibusters by Republicans a "troubling trend," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., fires back, saying we learned by watching you, citing Democrat-staged filibusters during George W. Bush's time in office.
The vote overturned an existing rule that required a 60-vote majority for the approval of presidential nominees. Now, just a simple majority will be required for executive branch and judicial nominees except for Supreme Court picks.

Speaking after the vote, President Barack Obama said he supports the Senate's action.
"The vote today, I think, is an indication that a majority of senators believe as I believe that enough is enough," Obama said. "The American people’s business is far too important to keep falling prey day after day to Washington politics."


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Don't Worry

It will come back as soon as the shoe is on the other foot.

The only question is whether it will be opposed as retaliation, or supported as the fair thing to do.

What do you think? http://consequeries.com/


Obama 2005 - “I sense that talk of the nuclear option is more about
power than about fairness. I believe some of my colleagues propose
this rules change because they can get away with it rather than because
they know it’s good for our democracy......The American people want less partisanship in this town, but everyone in this chamber knows that if
the majority chooses to end the filibuster– if they choose to change the
rules and put an end to democratic debate – then the fighting and the
bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse"

Biden 2005 - "This is what’s really going on here, the majority
doesn’t want to hear what others have to say even if it’s the truth.
The nuclear option abandons America’s sense of fair play. I say to my
friends on the Republican side, you may own the field right now, but you
won’t own it forever. I pray God, when the Democrats take back control, we don’t make the kind of naked power grab you are doing.”

Reid 2005 - “The threat to change Senate rules is a raw abuse of
power and will destroy the very checks and balances our founding fathers put in place to prevent absolute power by any one branch of government"

The Republicans are right about one of the nominees

Patricia Ann Millett was a highly rated and experienced lawyer whose nomination was being held up by the Republican filibuster. Supporters of Obama (and some of the Press) have characterized her nomination as a litmus test of just how unreasonable the Senate Republicans are. It is said that if the Republicans hold up Millett, then they are just doing it to play politics, not because she was unqualified. Therefore the 'nuclear option' was justified, they say. The Republicans had it coming.

I did an hour's worth of research on cases she has argued and public positions she has taken. If I were in the Senate, I'd filibuster her, too.
As two examples: she argued the case for an indian tribe that showing an ID to vote is discriminatory and violates the 14th Amendment. This happens to be Obama's position. She lost.

The other is a legal review she wrote concerning the minimum coverage requirements in Obamacare, arguing that without the minimum coverage requirement, the law will fail. Therefore an upcoming challenge in the Supreme Court should be struck down or Obamacare will not survive.

This is not someone who should be sitting on a Federal Appeals Court bench. Maybe she should go back to law school and learn to read the Constitution.

How are her two positions in

How are her two positions in any way out of the realm of plausible debate?

No one is saying you have to 100% agree with all of a persons positions to know that they are a qualified person. But to disqualify a nominee based on two opinions that are in fact still up to debate is preposterous.

Voted ID Laws: Still being debated and argued across many city, state and national party lines.

Minimum Coverage: She supported health insurance plans having a basic standard, we have minimum standards for auto safety, should we abandon those as well?

"Lighthouses are more useful than churches."- Ben Franklin
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."- James Madison

You can debate anything

Your position is interesting. Let's take it to the extreme. Let's say it's the 1850's and Millett took the position that black slavery should remain legal because it is necessary for the economic well being of the cotton industry and the social fabric of southern societies. Further, it is good for the slave because he is unlikely to make his way in a white world as a free man, given the rabid racists out there. Plus, she would note, slavery is condoned by the Constitution and any attempt to make it illegal can only bring chaos and social upheaval.

It certainly was a debatable issue in the 1850's, and these are real arguments that the pro-slavery side produced. Given this context, would you find her to be a viable candidate for a high office in the judiciary? Or do her opinions indicate a flaw so fundamental that she is not worthy of further consideration?

So which is it? Viable or not-viable? Why?

Ironically, the rule change in the Senate makes none of Millett's positions debatable. Her nomination can be rubber stamped, and her positions can become the law of the land...without meaningful debate.

Although I highly disagree

Although I highly disagree with your point on that slavery was up to debate. In the 1850's it really was only supported by the highly conservative south, the rest of the world had moved beyond that.

Anyway, there is always only benefit from a rational, factual and scientific debate. If the GOP had any real objections to the nominations of the judges based on support of unlawful behavior, then let us hear them. But their actions lately have been simply to cause as much gridlock as possible without ever suggesting an alternative.

"Lighthouses are more useful than churches."- Ben Franklin
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."- James Madison

The new rule makes debate moot

The Majority Party in the Senate can now ignore the Minority Party and confirm their judicial nominees with a rubber stamp.

I tried to point out that at least in one case (Millett) there was good reason to delay or deny her confirmation.

If you wish to dispute me on the debatable nature of the slavery question in the 1850's, that's fine. Whether it was the 1830's, 1840's, or 1850's is immaterial. To ignore a nominee's position on a key debate of the day and claim that it is immaterial to their qualification as a judge is to apply no standard of right or wrong to a confirmation. Ms. Millett has spent nearly her entire professional life representing the government's positions before the courts. What's more is that her personal writings indicate a personal support of government positions that run entirely counter to the libertarian/conservative understanding of the Constitution.

Since our liberties are being erroded by continuous government encroachments, it is critical to have some line of defense. The courts are one of the last places where bad laws, whether passed by liberals or neo-cons, can be struck down. If the courts are packed with partisans (whether Right or Left) the controlling party has not so much as a legal speed bump to slow them down.

Gridlock is not always bad. In fact, given our current corrupt system, it's one of the few things that prevents even MORE damage from being inflicted on us.

You will rue the day Harry Reid got his way with the Senate.

all but 2 out of 290+ nominees

have been fillibusterd.


Crazy crazy crazy!!!!! Logic has been lost, and centralization is going ahead as planned

Logic has been lost when the

Logic has been lost when the minority party decided to filibuster 3 qualified judges for no apparent reason while daring the majority party to change the rules. Sadly, they got their wish.

"Lighthouses are more useful than churches."- Ben Franklin
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."- James Madison

No apparent reason?

They aren't needed. That sounds like a good reason.

Spedmen do you really believe

what you post?

The Fillibuster as it was until today has been around since the late 1700's, it was purposely put in to slow things down, so people could debate and think things out. What you are pushing is for blindly allowing any so called nominee to pass without examination. - that's crazy talk.

You want to know how crazy your beloved socialists Democrats that lie lie lie lie on everything are? The removal of the Fillibuster only is enacted if the Democrats control the Senate, you heard it correctly, if the GOP wins the Senate next year, the old Fillibuster rules kick in at 60.

I am trying to have a

I am trying to have a constructive argument instead of finger pointing, you know, like the founding fathers used to have.

Republicans blocked 3 judge nominations, Why? No reason or argument were provided by any republicans, no alternatives were provided. This is not how our founding fathers envisioned government to work. You dont get to say "Cuz I said so" in the adult world and not expect consequences.

Nobody is happy here, and nobody wins.

3 judges nominated, 3 judges filibusterd for no reason.

3 strikes, everybodys out, and now the senate can be ruled as a circus.

"Lighthouses are more useful than churches."- Ben Franklin
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."- James Madison

SteveMT's picture

Anyone that Obama nominates should be blocked .

At this point in time, anyone that Obama nominates should be blocked until proven otherwise. Any bill that Obama puts forward should be blocked until proven otherwise. It is that simple. Why? Look at what Obama has already done (the bills, E.O.s, decisions, appointments, and actions taken), and you will find the reasons.

This is ridiculous. If you

This is ridiculous. If you disagree with a nomination, you have to state WHY. Each bill and nomination needs to be approached individually, with pros and cons looked at individually.

Your suggestion is the same as saying "Well there's always traffic in the morning, so there is no more reason to go to work in the morning.

"Lighthouses are more useful than churches."- Ben Franklin
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."- James Madison

SteveMT's picture

"there's always traffic in the morning,"....

the traffic lights haven't worked in five years, and people have been getting killed and maimed on this corner for no reason and without warning. I've been going to work by an alternative route, but now the government is forcing me to go to work by this way only.

Ridiculous indeed.

Your title is misleading... the filibuster is still alive...

...except for non-supreme court judicial nominees! They lowered the vote from 60 to simple majority, 51, to approve non-supreme court judicial nominees. By so doing the filibuster becomes useless, since the leader in the senate can ask for a ruling from the chair on the appropriateness of any particular filibuster against a non-supreme court nominee. If the ruling is that is not, the filibuster is overruled. If the ruling is that the filibuster is appropriate, the majority leader of the senate can call for a majority vote to overrule the chair! In effect, the simple-majority party gets their way!

It is an attack on the idea of debate and the 60 vote past requirement for confirmation, and as such is an attack on republican form of government!

Notwithstanding, the senate is today a faux body; not having been chosen by the legislatures of the several states, and the 17th amendment being also a faux amendment not legally passed in the first place!

Imagine all the roll-back a sound and forthright congress could effect, when once they undid the corruption wrought by the senate since the pretend passage of the 16th and 17th amendments in 1913! It would be ticker tape time all over the USA.

Next they will remove the rule for "important procedural bills"

like debt ceiling increases, ALL appropriations bills, and yes, TREATIES.

Eventually, the rule will disappear entirely, maybe even within a matter of a few years.

At the least, if it remains, it will go unused.

You will also see less bills pass by straight party vote. It will start that way in protest, but that will quickly change. Republican Senators who want to cling to ANY power they can get, will vote right along with Reid and his lackeys on bill after bill.

At that point, you'll see a series of "emergency" legislation introduced and not only will it not be stopped by a GOP filibuster, but the vast majority of the GOP will vote in extra-constitutional powers to all sorts of agents of government, including the President they allegedly despise.

It's all over but the shooting now folks.

Bend over and kiss it.

What goes Around comes Around

Wait until such time as the Republicans regain control of the Senate. The Democrats howling and whining to bring the filibuster back will be something to see.

What's even funnier...

is that you think there is a difference between the left and the right.

When did common sense become a super power? –Patrick F. Holman

That's funny. You really think the GOP would give up the power

to pass legislation and have it filibuster proof?


Newsflash: the GOP does not give up power when they get it - ever. They can only be traded for Democrats at the next election.

SteveMT's picture

Here is the list of 52 traitors who voted Yea:

Baldwin (D-WI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Begich (D-AK)
Bennet (D-CO)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Booker (D-NJ)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Coons (D-DE)
Donnelly (D-IN)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Hagan (D-NC)
Harkin (D-IA)
Heinrich (D-NM)
Heitkamp (D-ND)
Hirono (D-HI)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kaine (D-VA)
King (I-ME)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Leahy (D-VT)
Markey (D-MA)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murphy (D-CT)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schatz (D-HI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

We should all call them by

We should all call them by one name, like bob, considering they seem not to have one ounce of an opinion of their own.....oh no wait, thats what the "parties" are for.......REPRESENTITIVES going to bullshit mountain so their party can inform them on how they should vote....you know, TRUE /s representation..i dont exclude the republican party from such opinion, not once

Open Multi-plexes

showing movies on several screens - in the buildings currently occupied by the senate, house, 'supreme' court, etc

They're all nothing but theater to divert the citizenry anyway.

But not particularly entertaining.

What about the Yellen

What about the Yellen nomination? This shouldn't apply right? Fed Head isn't part of the executive branch, correct?

SteveMT's picture

Strange that this 60-vote rule didn't itself require 60 votes?

We have been living in a democracy, not a republic. This vote proves it.

What would you call a

What would you call a minority party that uses the filibuster to stop qualified judges from being nominated for no apparent reason?

No one is happy with the nuclear option, but sadly the Republicans asked for it. If they did not block 3 qualified judges from being nominated then the filibuster rule would still be there.

"Lighthouses are more useful than churches."- Ben Franklin
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."- James Madison

You keep saying they are qualified

Yet the Republicans say the nominees were intended to pack the courts with a particular ideology. I'm not qualified to make a judgment, not having read any original sources that would support the Republican or your views.

Obama's view of the Constitution is so diametrically apposed to my view of the Constitution that I suspect Obama's nominees were of his mindset, and therefore would probably be repugnant to me. As such, I suspect the Republicans may have a point. I am glad they have not rubber stamped Obama's choices, though I would surely like to know more of the detail on at least some of the nominees so I could make that judgment for myself.

You've given me a project: to Google the nominees and see if that information is available to the general public.

From my research, they may

From my research, they may not be conservative judges, but the judicial branch has always swayed depending on which party is in power.

Bush nominated conservatives, Obama nominated liberals.

There are much more important things for congress to be doing right now then fighting over judge nominations when the TPP, Freedom Act, and other important legislature is currently in the works.

"Lighthouses are more useful than churches."- Ben Franklin
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."- James Madison

The TPP and Freedom Act may end up in court

Who would you like to have making the final decisions about these things: a judge who has a firm knowledge of and commitment to the words and intent of the Constitution, or a judge that can parse words to twist the meaning of the Constitution to support any position she personally favors?

There is NO MORE IMPORTANT consideration for Congress than who will be interpreting the constitutional application of treaties and laws.