Can Republicans end the filibuster?

Wow, great work on the Save the Children rankings, Rocket Man. On another political front, this piece in the Washington Times by James Swanson of the Cato Institute contends that the Senate Democrats’ filibuster of President Bush’s judicial nominees is unconstitutional. Swanson argues that the Appointments Clause of the Constitution requires a simple majority for confirmation. However, 60 votes are required to end a filibuster. Thus, in Swanson’s view, the filibuster (or more precisely any Senate rule that permits it in the context of a debate over confirmation) effectively, and improperly, rewrites the Appointments Clause.
Swanson notes that litigation over this issue is not the answer because federal courts frown on settling political disputes between other branches of government. In Swanson’s view, the remedy lies within the Senate itself where, he believes, Republican Senators can change the offending rules through a simple majority. But how would they pull this off without facing a filibuster? Stay tuned.

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