Is The Filibuster Unconstitutional?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It’s hard to imagine the Senate without the filibuster, but now the non-profit group Common Cause is filing a lawsuit against the Supreme Court claiming that the notorious senate procedure is, in fact, unconstitutional. The Takeaway talks with the plaintiff’s attorney Emmet Bondurant and filibuster scholar Gregory Koger to find out where the filibuster came from, what good it’s done us, and whether it’s going to stick around.


Emmet Bondurant and Professor Gregory Koger

Produced by:

Joe Rosenberg

Comments [2]

david thurman

justice4 the kennedy brothers

May. 17 2012 01:19 AM

Modern rules on Senate filibusters are attributable to one Senator: Robert Byrd (D-WVa). The old Klansman-turned-Democratic Party "statesman."

Nowhere has hack-partisan hypocrisy on the subject of filibusters been more in evidence than on the editorial pages of the New York Times. Where filibusters are either great or terrible, depending on what side they are on.

■"The Senate, of all places, should be sensitive to the fact that this large and diverse country has never believed in government by an unrestrained majority rule. . . . A decade ago, this page expressed support for tactics that would have gone even further than the 'nuclear option' in eliminating the power of the filibuster. At the time, we had vivid memories of the difficulty that Senate Republicans had given much of Bill Clinton's early agenda. But we were still wrong. To see the filibuster fully, it's obviously a good idea to have to live on both sides of it. We hope acknowledging our own error may remind some wavering Republican senators that someday they, too, will be on the other side and in need of all the protections the Senate rules can provide."--editorial, New York Times, March 29, 2005
■"President Obama, the House and a majority of senators clearly support an end to 'don't ask, don't tell,' but that, of course, is insufficient in the upside-down world of today's Senate, where 40 members can block anything."--editorial, New York Times, Sept. 21, 2010

May. 16 2012 12:40 PM

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