Filibuster

Filibuster Rope-a-Dope?

Featured image Did the crafty Mitch McConnell just succeed in getting Democrats to damage their long-term interest by nuking the filibuster?  I’ve always defended the filibuster (and still do) as a valid anti-majoritarian device, especially useful for when fitful voters make a mistake as they did in 2008 (with the help of the Justice Department in Alaska and Al Franken’s cheating in Minnesota) and install a large Democratic majority in the Senate. »

The very useful lesson of Obama’s judicial power grab

Featured image It’s no secret that President Obama was behind the push to end the filibuster as a means of blocking nominees for U.S. appeals court judgeships. At a fundraiser earlier this month, he told liberal donors that he is “remaking the courts.” Recognizing that the filibuster stood in the way of a full radical makeover, Obama personally lobbied three Democratic Senators who were undecided about whether to eliminate it. Obama reportedly »

Byrd! Thou should’st be living at this hour

Featured image The political debate over the use of the Senate’s filibuster rule to torpedo President Bush’s judicial nominees in 2005 triggered a series of reversals and pratfalls that support the low-comedy version of democratic politics. Among the most notable examples was the profile of former Ku Klux Klan kleagle and civil rights obstructionist Robert Byrd as a cornpone constitutionalist by reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg in — where else? — the New »

Up next, attacking the filibuster (Updated)

Featured image With the “fiscal cliff” averted, the Democratic Senate will turn its attention to attacking the filibuster. I wrote about this issue here. As I explained: Republicans alone cannot prevent the Democrats from changing the Senate rules pertaining to the filibuster. In theory they can because under Senate rules any rule change requires a two-thirds majority. However, the Democrats apparently intend to violate that rule by pretending, contrary to what the »