Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

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Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby bluebambue » Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:00 pm UTC

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ ... story.html

Senate Democrats eliminated filibusters for most presidential nominations, severely curtailing the political leverage of the Republican minority in the Senate.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Thesh » Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:52 pm UTC

The faux outrage from the right is hilarious. Hearing things like "Democracy died today" and "Now the majority can do whatever it wants" as well as "The founding fathers are rolling in their graves" - which is particularly great, since the state of politics and the games the Republicans are playing is obviously not what the founding fathers wanted (not that what they want matters).

The whole idea of everything being Democrat vs Republican is the problem; if you only have two parties, individuals within those parties must regularly go against their parties, and actually have their own opinions. Only a very small number of Republicans or the Democrats do this today, and only on rare occasions, although I find the lack of compromise is mainly due to the newfound brand of rabid batshit that was brought to the table by the Republicans after a black guy got elected President.
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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby JudeMorrigan » Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:58 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:The faux outrage from the right is hilarious. Hearing things like "Democracy died today" and "Now the majority can do whatever it wants" as well as "The founding fathers are rolling in their graves" - which is particularly great, since the state of politics and the games the Republicans are playing is obviously not what the founding fathers wanted (not that what they want matters).

Woah, woah, woah. Are you trying to suggest that the Founding Fathers were not prophets (profits?) who handed down infallible scripture fron on high? I'm pretty sure that's a burnin' at the stake.

Seriously though, I'm fine with this. I understand and respect the idea of wanting to not trample the minority party, but the system had been abused to the point of being flat out broken.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby sociotard » Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:05 am UTC

I really like the FIlibuster. I do think it got overused in the past couple of years. I do think it was a bad idea to make the mere threat of filibuster be enough to block a vote. Filibuster should be a miserable experience for the person carrying it out, and generally require a minimum of effort. That's what we saw in that Texas abortion filibuster earlier this year. (it didn't grant final victory, but it was what I like to see in a filibuster use)

I do think there are sometimes appointments that are worth filibustering (because the appointee was poor choice, perhaps), and I hope that the rule will be reformed to be a little less draconian than just "no filibusters".

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Derek » Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:14 am UTC


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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby clockworkmonk » Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:39 am UTC

This infographic explains some of it to me at least.
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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Thesh » Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:52 am UTC


Well, if you ignore reality, you can justify your views on anything. Tyranny of the majority is bad, but when you have spent 5 years under tyrrany of the minority, then you have to weigh the good against the bad. But, if you want to surrender all independent thought and become a weak minded slave to the propaganda, that's your prerogative.
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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Djehutynakht » Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:07 am UTC

On one hand, this is, principally, something you don't want to do.

And, honestly Democrats probably didn't want to do this. It's a long held agreement between the parties to attempt not to screw with the rights of the minority party in Congress. For one simple reason: Elections.

The Minority party rights thing is not simply out of respect. Because both parties know that when they go back to being in the minority (because it will happen) they're going to get screwed by the other party out of pure spite and revenge. It's politicking 101. Status quo.

John McCain mentioned the fact that a lot of Democratic Senators don't know what it's been like to be in the minority for a long period of time (apparently most of the Dem. senators haven't) which I get, but still.

This isn't a particularly good option to take, but they're honestly right that the use of filibustering has gone through the roof. Filibustering is supposed to be a very carefully reserved and used power. However, people just seem to whip it out nowadays and quite frankly they need to slow the hell down.

I'll accept this, but hopefully they'll get their act together soon--the whole body, that is.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Zamfir » Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:31 am UTC

clockworkmonk wrote:This infographic explains some of it to me at least.

Yeah, you can't really expect such a process to work well, if you nominate more unacceptable candidates than all presidents before you. And instead of proposing acceptable candidates, he changes the law to push his candidates through anyhow. It's no wonder the republicans start talking about tyranny

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Paul in Saudi » Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:03 pm UTC

That is not what happened. Recently a nominee for the US District Court in Washington DC was delayed for 17 months. When his name came up for a vote, all senators present voted for the fellow. There was no objection to the man. There was an objection to President Obama making an appointment.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby bentheimmigrant » Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:37 pm UTC

The best reasoning I've seen on this basically goes like this: Republicans just shut down the government against heavy public opposition in order to publicise their ideological goals (which they knew beforehand, or should have known, would not be attained by shutting down the government). Why would the Democrats expect the GOP to uphold the filibuster when the positions are switched? Better to just eliminate it now and allow the government to function than let the GOP run out the clock on Obama?
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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Arrian » Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:43 pm UTC

Paul in Saudi wrote:That is not what happened. Recently a nominee for the US District Court in Washington DC was delayed for 17 months. When his name came up for a vote, all senators present voted for the fellow. There was no objection to the man. There was an objection to President Obama making an appointment.


Well, there's more than just obstructionist Republicans when you're talking about DC Circuit nominations:

Volokh Conspiracy wrote:During the Obama Administration, Senate Republicans have returned the favor, initially blocking cloture on Ninth Circuit nominee Goodwin Liu, followed by D.C. Circuit nominee Caitlin Halligan. This year, Senate Republicans have successfully filibustered three more nominees to the D.C. Circuit, arguing that the Obama Administration’s insistence on filling these three seats is an effort to tilt the ideological balance of the D.C. Circuit (particularly given that the court’s workload is down and there are unfilled judicial emergencies on other courts). As I noted here, the arguments Republicans make in support of this move parallel the arguments once made by Senate Democrats to justify their obstruction of judicial nominees during the last three Republican presidents. I don’t find these arguments compelling when made by either side, but what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.


The president is playing politics with some of his nominations as well, and judicial nominees on other circuits have gotten up/down votes.

Read the whole article, it's in favor of some rule for preventing a minority obstructing all nominations, but not for a blanket majority rule. Personally, I tend to think that we would be better off if just about everything Congress did would require a super majority.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby sardia » Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:51 pm UTC

Arrian wrote:
Paul in Saudi wrote:That is not what happened. Recently a nominee for the US District Court in Washington DC was delayed for 17 months. When his name came up for a vote, all senators present voted for the fellow. There was no objection to the man. There was an objection to President Obama making an appointment.


Well, there's more than just obstructionist Republicans when you're talking about DC Circuit nominations:

Volokh Conspiracy wrote:During the Obama Administration, Senate Republicans have returned the favor, initially blocking cloture on Ninth Circuit nominee Goodwin Liu, followed by D.C. Circuit nominee Caitlin Halligan. This year, Senate Republicans have successfully filibustered three more nominees to the D.C. Circuit, arguing that the Obama Administration’s insistence on filling these three seats is an effort to tilt the ideological balance of the D.C. Circuit (particularly given that the court’s workload is down and there are unfilled judicial emergencies on other courts). As I noted here, the arguments Republicans make in support of this move parallel the arguments once made by Senate Democrats to justify their obstruction of judicial nominees during the last three Republican presidents. I don’t find these arguments compelling when made by either side, but what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.


The president is playing politics with some of his nominations as well, and judicial nominees on other circuits have gotten up/down votes.

Read the whole article, it's in favor of some rule for preventing a minority obstructing all nominations, but not for a blanket majority rule. Personally, I tend to think that we would be better off if just about everything Congress did would require a super majority.

Why would you want only a supermajority to pass laws? Is it a general fear of Congress ever accomplishing anything? Or do you just have a hardon for the executive, judicial and state power? Because that's what it means when you demand supermajorities. Power does not stem solely from Congress, if there is a power vacuum, other entities will fill it in. Be it judges, states, presidents, or corporations; someone will step in Congress's wake.

As for the filibuster changes, I'm kinda sad. I wonder why they didn't offer another compromise?

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby JudeMorrigan » Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:25 pm UTC

sardia wrote:As for the filibuster changes, I'm kinda sad. I wonder why they didn't offer another compromise?

Because in recent years, Republicans have made it clear that they consider "compromise" to mean "giving us 90% of what we want and then calling you dirty socialists because of the last 10%"?

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby omgryebread » Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:50 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
clockworkmonk wrote:This infographic explains some of it to me at least.

Yeah, you can't really expect such a process to work well, if you nominate more unacceptable candidates than all presidents before you. And instead of proposing acceptable candidates, he changes the law to push his candidates through anyhow. It's no wonder the republicans start talking about tyranny
This might make sense in some bizarre dreamscape where A) Obama's nominees are not qualified, and B) Republican opposition to the nominees is about their lack of qualifications.

Unfortunately, here in the real world, the nominees are qualified, and Republicans aren't really saying differently, so your post doesn't make sense at all.

Rosemary Marquez has been a nominee since June 23, 2011, blocked by the Senators from her home state of Arizona. Surely for such an "unacceptable" nominee, these senators would have plenty of reasons for denying her, and would love to show off what a bad nominee their political opponent is putting up.

http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2012/06/22/a-year-later-marquez-nomination-to-u-s-district-court-judgeship-has-stalled/ wrote:Neither Kyl nor McCain responded to requests for comment on the Marquez nomination. But McCain said in March that the senators “do not feel at this time that she’s qualified.”
Oh boy, that sure explains it. With such a forceful ability to state his positions, it's a wonder McCain didn't win 2008.


But hey, that one isn't going to be changed by this rule change. Let's look at the very nominee that the rule change happened over. According to you, Obama's nominees are being blocked in in record numbers because they are unacceptable, and he's refusing to propose acceptable candidates. So what's wrong with Patricia Millett?

Currently head of the Supreme Court practice for the esteemed and widely-praised law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Millett has argued 32 cases before the US Supreme Court. Before that, she's served in the US DOJ Civil Division, arguing cases before federal appeals courts. She then served as assistant to the Solicitor General. She has a long list of recommendations and awards.

I can find a National Review article criticizing one quote, plucked out of context, for not nailing down a judicial philosophy. That's of course, an esteemed practice among judicial nominees. Other than another article playing some free association to link to all sorts of nefarious conspiracies from a site that also wonders why aliens attacked the space shuttle, that's literally all the criticism I can find.

But you say she's unacceptable, and that surely must be why Republicans refuse to appoint her. Let's try and see what they're saying about her.

Senator Ted Cruz R-TX wrote:“Thank you Mr. Chairman. Ms. Millett thank you for being here. Thank you for your able testimony. You and I have known each other a long time. And you are a talented and skilled appellate advocate. You are someone who has earned high respect in the Supreme Court bar, which is a community where earning respect there means something. And so I congratulate you on your nomination and your able testimony this morning.
Huh. Maybe I'm mistaken, but usually "talented and skilled" are not adjectives used to describe "unacceptable" nominees.

Maybe look at the leader of the filibuster, and his article on why Patricia Millett shouldn't be nominated. http://www.grassley.senate.gov/news/Article.cfm?customel_dataPageID_1502=47317 That's funny. He doesn't actually address her qualifications at all.

Maybe Grassley's argument is correct. But if so, your post is at best ignorant about the reasons Obama's nominees have been blocked. And maybe you're right that his nominees are unacceptable. But that doesn't explain why they are filibustering this particular outstandingly qualified nominee.
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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby bentheimmigrant » Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:08 pm UTC

Pretty sure Zamfir was being somewhat facetious.
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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby omgryebread » Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:34 pm UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:Pretty sure Zamfir was being somewhat facetious.
Oh man, that's quite possible. If so, apologies for the faulty sarcasm meter.
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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby bentheimmigrant » Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:43 pm UTC

I mean, to some extent, he's right, even if he is being a bit silly with it. That is a perfectly foreseeable outcome. But as I said above, what reason does anyone have to expect the modern incarnation of the Republican party wouldn't do the same thing with the filibuster when it suited them? They've shown no respect for any other governmental conventions, as far as I have seen.
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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Zamfir » Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:26 pm UTC

Yeah, I wasn't quite serious there. Still be a useful perspective to consider, even if only to reject after more careful inspection. One person's reasonable candidates are another persons' partisan hacks, after all.

For the rest, this whole process of openly political appointments is somewhat alien to me, especially for judges. Not as alien as elected judges, but still.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby sardia » Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:58 pm UTC

We've become very good at predicting the probable overall votes for an appointment based on their previous works. This means that even if they say or honestly believe that they are impartial, one can guess which way they will rule. Because we can safely predict which way they will vote, every nomination is a partisan affair, especially in evenly divided seats.

Of course, this only explains part of it since a president gets to select his own cabinet. I don't understand how people can oppose to partisanship here.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby leady » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:03 pm UTC

You can understand though why Judicial partisanship has soared given the horribly undemocratic (even the sensible ones) nakedly partisan logic that comes out of the american legal system. Particularly some of the sweeping interpretation changes over the last couple decades.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:07 pm UTC

JudeMorrigan wrote:Seriously though, I'm fine with this. I understand and respect the idea of wanting to not trample the minority party, but the system had been abused to the point of being flat out broken.


It has been abused, but I'm sure the new system will be no less abused. I have little doubt that blatantly partisan behavior will continue, just based around different numerical benchmarks. Will the republicans gleefully abuse this to the utmost when they're next in charge? Oh, god yes. Hell, they may justify use of the nuclear option based on this event. Wouldn't surprise me at all.

So, one by one, checks and balances die while the infighting worsens.

bentheimmigrant wrote:I mean, to some extent, he's right, even if he is being a bit silly with it. That is a perfectly foreseeable outcome. But as I said above, what reason does anyone have to expect the modern incarnation of the Republican party wouldn't do the same thing with the filibuster when it suited them? They've shown no respect for any other governmental conventions, as far as I have seen.


Maybe, maybe not. I do not think that respect would be what prevented them from doing it...mostly fear of what democrats would do with it. That might be strong enough. That said, partisanship has been worsening enough that maybe it wouldn't be. Hard to tell for sure.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Djehutynakht » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:23 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
JudeMorrigan wrote:Seriously though, I'm fine with this. I understand and respect the idea of wanting to not trample the minority party, but the system had been abused to the point of being flat out broken.


It has been abused, but I'm sure the new system will be no less abused. I have little doubt that blatantly partisan behavior will continue, just based around different numerical benchmarks. Will the republicans gleefully abuse this to the utmost when they're next in charge? Oh, god yes. Hell, they may justify use of the nuclear option based on this event. Wouldn't surprise me at all.



Well, yes, frankly, they are. That's why it's called "The Nuclear Option", because the party itself which initiates it will become screwed the next time elections change in favor of the opponent.

The only way for Democrats to really avoid this is for them to get their business done, and change the rules back while continuing a majority for long enough that by the time the Republican party is back in the majority, the nuclear option has been gone long enough that it'd be absurd to revive it without an extreme cause.


Seriously though. This place needs to get its act together.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:43 pm UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:Well, yes, frankly, they are. That's why it's called "The Nuclear Option", because the party itself which initiates it will become screwed the next time elections change in favor of the opponent.

The only way for Democrats to really avoid this is for them to get their business done, and change the rules back while continuing a majority for long enough that by the time the Republican party is back in the majority, the nuclear option has been gone long enough that it'd be absurd to revive it without an extreme cause.


Seriously though. This place needs to get its act together.


Not sure that this'll be the case. The makeup of the senate is a near thing now, and it's got a shot at going red in 2014. Very unlikely that it'll get bluer in 2014, at any rate. Given that three dems voted with republicans over this, it seems like at least some concern exists. A republican senate in the somewhat near future seems decently probable. The big question is if it'll be coupled with republican control elsewhere. If the next presidential election goes red, there is a possibility that all three could end up republican, with a substantial hate-on for all things democrat and a lack of effective checks on their power.

It'd be a god-awful mess.

It's bound to happen one way or the other, tho. We keep stripping away checks and balances and doing anything to win, one side eventually will, and will attempt to crush the other one utterly.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Djehutynakht » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:50 pm UTC

True. I have a substantially hard time imagining the nation siding in the majority with the Republican party after this large mess, but I come from arguably the bluest state in the Union, so all things Republican are, decidedly, foreign to my daily life.

Like I said, some act-cleaning has to be done here.


Also, this is relevant. The claim is that Obama's "unprecedented situation" isn't entirely unprecedented depending on how it's looked at:
http://news.yahoo.com/are-republicans-r ... 14638.html

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:58 pm UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:True. I have a substantially hard time imagining the nation siding in the majority with the Republican party after this large mess, but I come from arguably the bluest state in the Union, so all things Republican are, decidedly, foreign to my daily life.


I live basically next to DC, and honestly, people here don't care all that much about DC Circuit Court composition. Oh sure, if you asked them, they'd probably agree that the current situation is messed up, but they're not gonna be in the streets over it. I suspect this particular issue will not factor heavily into elections. The shutdown might. Got a lot of anger here in MD and over in Virginia, but hey, MD wasn't a swing state anyway. In the flyover states, the shutdown got reactions ranging from apathy to joy. The train wreck that The Affordable Care Act is turning into might at least partially justify the shutdown in the eyes of voters, too. If it had gone off without a hitch, the republican claims that they HAD to stop it would have been brought up endlessly by the democrats. Now...depending on the scale of the fallout, it's either going to end up as a dead issue, or as a pro for republicans.

I've read that article btw...good stuff. Well, the hope that this'll fix obstructionism is a bit naive, probably. I have no doubt that if the repubs held the senate majority and Obama was the pres, they'd obstruct all manner of stuff. Certainly it does a good job of illustrating how partisanship has deepened, though. It's always been there, sure, but the level of animosty has grown.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby oxoiron » Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:04 pm UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:...I come from arguably the bluest state in the Union...
Two points:

1) I am glad you used the qualifier, "arguably".
2) You didn't tell us from where you come.

Back on topic, I would have preferred to see the "60% required for invoking cloture" rule replaced with a "40% required for initiating a filibuster" one. In addition, the rules for initiating a filibuster should be as torturous as those for invoking cloture.
Wikipedia wrote:The procedure for "invoking cloture," or ending a filibuster, is as follows:

-A minimum of sixteen senators must sign a petition for cloture.
-The petition may be presented by interrupting another Senator's speech.
-The clerk reads the petition.
-The cloture petition is ignored for one full day during which the Senate is sitting. For example, if the petition is filed on Monday, it is ignored until Wednesday. (If the petition is filed on a Friday, it is ignored until Tuesday, assuming that the Senate did not sit on Saturday or Sunday.)
-On the second calendar day during which the Senate sits after the presentation of the petition, after the Senate has been sitting for one hour, a "quorum call" is undertaken to ensure that a majority of the Senators are present. However, the mandatory quorum call is often waived by unanimous consent.
-The President of the Senate or President pro tempore presents the petition.
-The Senate votes on the petition; three-fifths of the whole number of Senators (sixty with no vacancies) is the required majority; however, when cloture is invoked on a question of changing the rules of the Senate, two-thirds of the Senators voting (not necessarily two-thirds of all Senators) is the requisite majority. This is commonly referred to in the news media as a "test vote".
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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby AndyG314 » Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:42 pm UTC

I think this rule change is fallout from the government shutdown. What has stopped majority parties from doing this in the past has been the fear of retaliation from the other party next election cycle. After the shutdown I think many Democrats felt that they had nothing to lose, they saw what Republicans were willing to do with a majority in the House, why would they hesitate in the Senate?

I'm not sure however, that it isn't just a good thing in general. Filibuster use has been on the rise foe decades, especially the endless filibustering of nominations, with both Democrats and Republicans taking part. Weather or not this will end well remains to be seen, but something had to be done to reign it in. I'm not sure this will be a bad thing even if Republicans do regain control of the Senate.
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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Derek » Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:21 pm UTC

oxoiron wrote:Back on topic, I would have preferred to see the "60% required for invoking cloture" rule replaced with a "40% required for initiating a filibuster" one. In addition, the rules for initiating a filibuster should be as torturous as those for invoking cloture.
Wikipedia wrote:The procedure for "invoking cloture," or ending a filibuster, is as follows:

-A minimum of sixteen senators must sign a petition for cloture.
-The petition may be presented by interrupting another Senator's speech.
-The clerk reads the petition.
-The cloture petition is ignored for one full day during which the Senate is sitting. For example, if the petition is filed on Monday, it is ignored until Wednesday. (If the petition is filed on a Friday, it is ignored until Tuesday, assuming that the Senate did not sit on Saturday or Sunday.)
-On the second calendar day during which the Senate sits after the presentation of the petition, after the Senate has been sitting for one hour, a "quorum call" is undertaken to ensure that a majority of the Senators are present. However, the mandatory quorum call is often waived by unanimous consent.
-The President of the Senate or President pro tempore presents the petition.
-The Senate votes on the petition; three-fifths of the whole number of Senators (sixty with no vacancies) is the required majority; however, when cloture is invoked on a question of changing the rules of the Senate, two-thirds of the Senators voting (not necessarily two-thirds of all Senators) is the requisite majority. This is commonly referred to in the news media as a "test vote".

Congressional procedure doesn't need to become more complex and arduous. The super majority rule should just be formalized and simplified. You need a 60% majority to pass. The same majority can end discussion and call a vote.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Silknor » Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:05 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote: If the next presidential election goes red, there is a possibility that all three could end up republican, with a substantial hate-on for all things democrat and a lack of effective checks on their power.

It'd be a god-awful mess.


Yeah, without the filibuster, the only checks on the power of Senate Republicans will be the President, the House, the Judiciary, and the fact that they will be up for election. In other words, we'd only have the exact checks the Founders designed (no, the filibuster wasn't one of them). And if the two elected branches both end up Republican, then perhaps Republicans deserve a chance to put their ideas into action? That sounds less like a mess and more like majoritarian democracy of the type practiced world over.

Separately, is there anyone who believes that even without this change Republicans would let the filibuster stand in the way of The Affordable Care Act repeal if they won the Presidency and had a majority in both houses of Congress?* Sure, maybe they'd change budget reconciliation rules to do so instead, but it would be gone.

*At least in 2012. By 2016 the only way I see that not happening is if some substantial minority gives up on repeal because it's sufficiently popular by then. But if they wanted to repeal it, no legislative procedure would stand in their way.
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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Wnderer » Sat Nov 23, 2013 7:22 pm UTC

Looks at the Reactions.

The Heritage Society is laughing its ass off. "Obama's a Hypocrite"
http://blog.heritage.org/2013/11/22/har ... line131122
filibustersplitscreen-v2.jpg

Just a few short years ago, then-Senator Obama spoke forcefully against doing what Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) just did. When Republicans talked about a similar rule change in 2005, Obama said (emphasis added):

" I urge my Republican colleagues not to go through with changing these rules. In the long run, it is not a good result for either party. One day Democrats will be in the majority again, and this rule change will be no fairer to a Republican minority than it is to a Democratic minority. I sense that talk of the nuclear option is more about power than about fairness. I believe some of my colleagues propose this rule change because they can get away with it rather than because they know it is good for our democracy."

Yesterday, the President’s strong words in support of the filibuster were but a memory, as he declared his about-face in favor of the Democratic majority seizing power. “I support the step a majority of Senators today took to change the way that Washington is doing business,” he said, describing Reid’s power grab in lofty, for-the-people terms.

Obama’s 180-degree turn on this issue—based on who’s in the Senate majority—is perhaps most amusing when you see that he invoked the American Founders in defense of both positions.

In 2005, getting rid of the filibuster “certainly is not what the patriots who founded this democracy had in mind.”

But today, using the filibuster is “not what our Founders envisioned.”


The National Review is hardly complaining about the change. They're complaining that Obama is using it to stack the DC courts to protect his increase of Presidential Powers.
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/3 ... ut-editors
The filibuster is a minor issue; the major issue is that President Obama is engaged in a court-packing scheme to protect his dubious agenda, and Harry Reid’s Senate is conspiring with him to do so. The voters missed their chance to forestall these shenanigans in 2012. They made the wrong decision then, and have a chance to make partial amends in 2014, when they will be deciding not only what sort of Senate they wish to have, but what sort of courts, and what sort of country.


And David Brooks is mourning the loss of compromise and moderation.
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics ... 11-22.html
There's no question there's been a deterioration of norms, but that's no reason to basically begin the erosion of the institution of the Senate, what makes the Senate special. When you go to the Senate dining room and you look at the senators, they actually do talk to each other across party lines. They have working relationships. It's not great. It's not the way it used to be.

But they basically have working relationships. And they were able to pass legislation, even immigration reform, a couple weeks or months ago, because they have to do that, because to get a lot of stuff passed, including nominations, you have got to get 60 votes. And it's very rare that one party has 60 votes. So, they're used to working across party lines, in a way they just aren't in the House.

And so, if you take away that 60-vote thing, starting now with some of the nominations, but probably going within a couple of years to the Supreme Court nominations and maybe the legislation, you basically are turning the Senate into the House. You're basically beginning the erosion of what makes the Senate special, beginning the erosion of minority rights.

You're creating a much more polarized body over the long term. So, if you think partisanship and polarization are in short supply, well, then this was a good move, because we're going to have more of it, I think, in the medium and long term.


No longer is the loss of a few votes from the extremists in your party offset by the need to get votes from the other party. You can start by pleasing your base and then bully the moderates in your own party. This is a gift to the Tea Party. The pendulum still swings and Republicans may take back the Senate, but the moderates in the Republican have just lost power.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby sardia » Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:27 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Djehutynakht wrote:True. I have a substantially hard time imagining the nation siding in the majority with the Republican party after this large mess, but I come from arguably the bluest state in the Union, so all things Republican are, decidedly, foreign to my daily life.


I live basically next to DC, and honestly, people here don't care all that much about DC Circuit Court composition. Oh sure, if you asked them, they'd probably agree that the current situation is messed up, but they're not gonna be in the streets over it. I suspect this particular issue will not factor heavily into elections. The shutdown might. Got a lot of anger here in MD and over in Virginia, but hey, MD wasn't a swing state anyway. In the flyover states, the shutdown got reactions ranging from apathy to joy. The train wreck that The Affordable Care Act is turning into might at least partially justify the shutdown in the eyes of voters, too. If it had gone off without a hitch, the republican claims that they HAD to stop it would have been brought up endlessly by the democrats. Now...depending on the scale of the fallout, it's either going to end up as a dead issue, or as a pro for republicans.

I've read that article btw...good stuff. Well, the hope that this'll fix obstructionism is a bit naive, probably. I have no doubt that if the repubs held the senate majority and Obama was the pres, they'd obstruct all manner of stuff. Certainly it does a good job of illustrating how partisanship has deepened, though. It's always been there, sure, but the level of animosty has grown.

By effective check on power, you mean the check on the power of appointing people to positions. Let's be clear here, there are other checks and balances that you either don't know about or are conveniently ignoring. An incompetent Legislative branch means that all the checks on judicial and executive power are left unused. Power that is unused is no power at all. Why do you think the issue of appointments are so contentious anyway? It's because Congress is so ineffective, that they can't stop or enact the basics of their duties. If the Courts or the Presidents says "I'm gonna do what I want unless you stop me, "and then Congress does nothing, that's an expansion of power right there.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby morriswalters » Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:39 pm UTC

Health care policy closer to the elections might be more indicative of what happens. If it gets fixed people won't care and if it doesn't , barring some Republican disaster, will give them(the Republicans) both houses. So what? We've been there before. The world didn't end. And they won't be able to hold it. They aren't any smarter than the Democrats.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Derek » Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:54 pm UTC

sardia wrote:By effective check on power, you mean the check on the power of appointing people to positions.

The remaining supermajority requirements won't last long. Either the Democrats will get rid of them now that the Republicans will be more obstructive than ever, or the Republicans will get rid of them in revenge when they get power back.

The filibuster and the idea of needing a supermajority is dead.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Wnderer » Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:47 pm UTC

Derek wrote:
sardia wrote:By effective check on power, you mean the check on the power of appointing people to positions.

The remaining supermajority requirements won't last long. Either the Democrats will get rid of them now that the Republicans will be more obstructive than ever, or the Republicans will get rid of them in revenge when they get power back.

The filibuster and the idea of needing a supermajority is dead.


Theoretical imaginary filibusters are still allowed while actual real ones are banned. Supreme Court Nominations? Whose Supreme Court Nomination? Legislature? The Republicans control the House. Republicans aren't going to take that seriously. Remember all that super majority work required to get the ACA passed? Fifty one yeas, no veto and gone.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby addams » Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:42 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:Health care policy closer to the elections might be more indicative of what happens. If it gets fixed people won't care and if it doesn't , barring some Republican disaster, will give them(the Republicans) both houses. So what? We've been there before. The world didn't end. And they won't be able to hold it. They aren't any smarter than the Democrats.

The Republicans are not any smarter than the Democrats? Really?
What ones are not smarter?

Who is running things? Who runs the TV?
Filibuster? Who gives a darned?

I hate Politics. Filibusters happen on TV.
Back when The Rules were made, a speaking engagement in the Nation's Capital was important.
Today it is important if it makes the 24/7 News Cycle.

Back in the Days Of Old; Those guys listened to one another.
It was a different time. It was the same place. The buildings are better, now.

I remember a filibuster recently. Some guy read a Dr. Seuss book.
Our TV time is valuable. Not, just, anyone can be on TV.
(Cheney is on daily. Obama is not allowed much air time. who has the power?)

Our public time is cheep. The people that are bought seats in the governing bodies waste time as a profession.
Why? Because, to do the Right Thing is boring. It does not Entertain the Masses the way discord does.

We are entertained. right?
Outrage is so entertaining it becomes addictive.
Difficult to give up.

Why would we give up OutRage?
Anything else, looks like you don't care.
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We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
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Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby Vahir » Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:51 am UTC

A reform is necessary; Weapons need to be handed out to congressmen and senators, to be used in a battle to the death. The party which slays all opposition would rule the nation until such a time as another party gathers enough support to displace them. The whole thing could be televised, the proceeds helping to alleviate America's debt woes.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby addams » Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:48 am UTC

Vahir wrote:A reform is necessary; Weapons need to be handed out to congressmen and senators, to be used in a battle to the death. The party which slays all opposition would rule the nation until such a time as another party gathers enough support to displace them. The whole thing could be televised, the proceeds helping to alleviate America's debt woes.

We have already done that.
The creation of Government is a responds to that.

The US may very well be headed back that way.
Not everyone everywhere is Good to Go on that plan.

It will work for the US, maybe.
We are human, after all.

I have my fingers crossed that other nations have more level headed plans.
You may be making a Joke.

What is on TV today is not far enough from your Joke to be funny.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby sardia » Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:33 am UTC

Wnderer wrote:
Theoretical imaginary filibusters are still allowed while actual real ones are banned. Supreme Court Nominations? Whose Supreme Court Nomination? Legislature? The Republicans control the House. Republicans aren't going to take that seriously. Remember all that super majority work required to get the ACA passed? Fifty one yeas, no veto and gone.

Can you rephrase? I don't understand what you're saying.

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Re: Filibusters Eliminated on most Nominations in US Senate

Postby bentheimmigrant » Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:34 am UTC

I'll steal an angle from Ezra Klein:
Until now, Obama couldn't actually fire anyone because he couldn't expect the GOP to let him replace them. It will be interesting to see if anyone is held accountable for healthcare.gov.
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