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zraver
22 Nov 13,, 00:19
We just moved from democracy to mob rule in Congress.

Washington (CNN) - Senate Democrats dropped the filibuster bomb Thursday, and now the question is what kind of fallout will result from the so-called nuclear option.

By a 52-48 vote, the Senate ended the ability of minority Republicans to continue using filibusters to block some of President Barack Obama's judicial and executive nominations, despite the vehement objections of Republicans.

Majority Democrats then quickly acted on the change by ending a filibuster against one of Obama's nominees for a federal appeals court.

Obama later cited what he called "an unprecedented patter of obstruction in Congress" during his presidency for the move led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"A deliberate and determined effort to obstruct everything, no matter what the merits, just to refight the results of an election is not normal," Obama said of the change. "And for the sake of future generations, it cannot become normal."

Albany Rifles
22 Nov 13,, 00:45
No...we returned to the rules of the Senate prior to 1917...and even as recent as 1975.

It is constitutional IAW US v Ballin.

zraver
22 Nov 13,, 01:04
No...we returned to the rules of the Senate prior to 1917...and even as recent as 1975.

It is constitutional IAW US v Ballin.

AR, Reid is a disgusting slimeball and I really cannot wait until karma finally catches up with him. If God is real I really hope he sends Reid straight to the fires. When Bush 43 was prez, Reid was the leading architect of the left's obstruction of Bush. With blackmail thrown into it. Yet now that the other side has adopted his tactics he wants to change the rules. This guys whole modus operandi is corruption and evil.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/21/washington/21recess.html?_r=0

DOR
22 Nov 13,, 02:25
The Senate, like the House, makes its own rules.
Over time, each established a set of rules that seemed fair.
Lately, one party has been violating the spirit of those rules, to the detriment of the nation.
No more.

Well done, Senator Reid.
Very well done.

MIKEMUN
22 Nov 13,, 02:30
The Senate, like the House, makes its own rules.
Over time, each established a set of rules that seemed fair.
Lately, one party has been violating the spirit of those rules, to the detriment of the nation.
No more.

Well done, Senator Reid.
Very well done.


The US Senate has begun debating the nomination of a controversial senior judge which could trigger a chain of events leading to a showdown over the practice of filibustering - or blocking legislation by debating it at length.

The Capitol building, Washington DC
The tradition of the filibuster is almost as old as the Senate itself

Republicans have threatened to change Senate rules in order to stop Democrats from filibustering nominations with which they disagree.

On the face of it, the looming Senate battle over the filibuster is an esoteric row about a quaint but inconsequential parliamentary practice.

Yet at the heart of this debate is a very consequential issue: power.

Unless a last minute deal is reached, the Democrats have said they will filibuster several of President George W Bush's nominees to senior judicial positions because of what they argue are their extremist views on issues such as abortion and gay rights.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said: "The filibuster is a critical tool to keep the majority in check."

He accuses Republicans of "an arrogance of power" in threatening to abolish it.

"They think they are wiser than our Founding Fathers. I doubt that's true," Mr Reid said.

'Drift to right'

Although the Republicans control the presidency and both houses of Congress, the ability of Democrats to block these nominations is a serious challenge to their agenda, both now and perhaps more importantly, in the future.


Eventually as more liberal judges or activist judges retire or pass away and are replaced by judges confirmed by a Republican Senate, the courts... will drift to the right
Grover Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform

For this tussle over these nominations is in many ways a dress rehearsal for an even bigger row over vacancies in the Supreme Court, which are expected to occur in the next few years.

Grover Norquist is President of Americans for Tax Reform and a leading right-wing thinker, who has the ear of Mr Bush.

"Eventually as more liberal judges or activist judges retire or pass away and are replaced by judges confirmed by a Republican Senate, the courts - the Supreme Court in particular, but the courts in general - will drift to the right," he told the BBC.

In a country which holds its system of checks and balances in such high regard, the Republican leadership threat to change the Senate rules in order to block judicial filibusters has been divisive.

There have been plenty of words spoken already.

'Nuclear option'

Both sides have been filling the airwaves with adverts - defending or attacking the prospective federal judges who are under the spotlight.

And, as the first nomination, that of Priscilla Owen, was presented in the Senate, Majority leader Bill Frist called for less talking and more voting.

"Debate the nominee for five hours. Debate the nominee for 50 hours. Confirm the nominee. Reject the nominee. But in the end, vote," he said.

The filibuster is a way of giving the minority party some measure of influence and some Republicans with longer memories are concerned about the precedent that removing it would set.

Supporters of what's become known as the "nuclear option" because of its destructive potential argue that the Democrats' actions go beyond the Senate's remit to advise and consent.

In the next few days, it should become clear whether they are prepared to push the nuclear button.

BBC NEWS | Americas | Filibuster row could 'go nuclear' (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4560741.stm)

MIKEMUN
22 Nov 13,, 02:32
If you think that politicians go on a bit, spare a thought for the Americans.

Democratic Minority Leader Senator Harry Reid talks to reporters on Capitol Hill
Democrats say they will slow Senate business if rules are changed
In the US Senate any of the 100 members has the power to hold up any bill indefinitely unless an overwhelming majority vote them down.

The filibuster, as it is known, is now under threat from Republicans who are in the majority and want to stop the Democrats holding up business.

In the film classic Mr Smith goes to Washington, Jimmy Stewart plays the good guy who talks and talks to win the day.

A clip of the movie is now part of a TV advertisement trying to persuade Americans that the filibuster is part of their heritage and protects their rights.

According to the Almanac of American Politics, 87-year-old Robert Byrd comes closer than anyone other to the kind of senator the founding fathers had in mind.

On the floor, nobody tries to hurry him.

Speech lasted 14 hours

"It used to be that when Senator Huey filibustered, he would use a telephone directory or he'd read recipes for certain kinds of pot liquor or whatever - just anything to take up time," Senator Byrd said.

Senator Robert Byrd
Senator Robert Byrd's right to ramble may be curtailed

"But then the southerners mastered this and instead of doing all that pot liquor stuff, they stayed on the subject.

"And so when I filibustered 14 hours and 13 minutes in 1964 I never got off the germaneness of the subject."

But Mr Byrd's rights to ramble may soon be curtailed.

There is a plot afoot to ban the filibuster on one particular issue - Senate approval for President Bush's judicial nominations.

At the moment many of them are in limbo, with Democrats refusing to allow a vote on their appointments.

'Jesus did not filibuster'

Some Republicans say it is time to act.


God versus the filibuster is the latest strange alignment in American politics

Their leader in the Senate, Bill Frist, says: "We will consider what opponents call the nuclear option.

"Only in the United States Senate could it be considered a devastating option to allow a vote - most places call that democracy."

Mr Frist has taken the bold step of allying himself with evangelical Christians who desperately want President Bush's conservative judges to get into the courts and start dispensing their kind of justice.

The filibuster was portrayed as ungodly during a recent televised rally.

Jesus it seems would not have filibustered and nor would decent modern politicians.

'Everything at stake'

For the Democrats the veteran Robert Byrd can also sound apocalyptic when necessary. He says the filibuster's survival is vital.

"It is a dastardly, dangerous power move," he says.

"Because if this crowd downtown can push through a change to the rules... then everything is up for grabs and the American people will have lost and senators will rue the day that they ever fell for this bunk."

At the moment public opinion is probably on Mr Byrd's side but opponents of the filibuster are still gathering support and if a clash comes the evangelicals will be on hand to help change parliamentary procedure.

God versus the filibuster is the latest strange alignment in American politics.

BBC NEWS | Americas | Right to ramble splits US Senate (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4488107.stm)

MIKEMUN
22 Nov 13,, 02:35
That is old and busted....New hotness..

Obama supports Senate rule change to curb filibusters

President Obama says the blocking tactics are ''harmful to our democracy''
Continue reading the main story
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US President Barack Obama has lent his support to a move by Senate Democrats to limit Republicans' ability to block White House nominations.

The measure, known as the "nuclear option", curbs the power of the upper chamber's minority party to use a blocking tactic known as a filibuster.

Mr Obama cited Republicans' "unprecedented pattern of obstruction".

Republicans vowed they would use the new rule against Democrats if they won back the Senate in the next election.

Correspondents said Thursday's motion, which passed 52-48, will make American politics even more acrimonious.
'Power grab'

At the White House on Thursday, Mr Obama conceded that neither party had been blameless in filibusters.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

You may regret this a lot sooner than you think”

Mitch McConnell Senate minority leader

But he said it was unacceptable that nearly 30 of his nominees had been blocked from confirmation since he took office.

The US leader called it an "unprecedented pattern of obstruction in Congress" to block qualified candidates.

"A deliberate and determined effort to obstruct everything, no matter what the merits, just to refight the results of an election, is not normal," he said.

Under the rule change, the party in control of the upper chamber of the US Congress now requires just 51 votes, instead of 60, to overcome a filibuster of White House judicial or executive nominations.

Democrats currently have 55 seats in the Senate; Republicans 45.

The motion does not affect Supreme Court nominations or regular legislation.
Continue reading the main story
US filibuster reaction

"What is happening now is a rare change to the Senate rules, the consequences of which for the Senate, this president, the presidency and the future remain very uncertain," writes Talking Points Memo's David Kurtz.

Michael Needham, head of the conservative activist group Heritage Action, said: "For Harry Reid and President Obama, this is not about a couple of circuit court judges; this is an attempt to remake America to reflect their unworkable and unpopular progressive vision."

"If you think Republicans wouldn't have changed the rule to benefit themselves at the first chance they got - no matter what Democrats did - then you haven't been paying attention," writes Paul Waldman of the American Prospect.

"My suggestion to Republicans is to move on and, unfortunately, return the 'favor' when they are in power," writes Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post. "Republicans are not blameless in this."

Read more

It is viewed as the most significant rule change since 1975, when the requirement to end any filibuster on the Senate floor was decreased from two-thirds of all senators to the current 60.

"This is a power grab," argued Senator Lamar Alexander. "It's another raw exercise of political power to permit the majority to do anything it wants whenever it wants to do it."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his fellow Democrats - who control the chamber for now - had repeatedly warned they might ram through the motion.

In July, Democrats set aside a threat to do so only after Republicans dropped their long-standing objections to several White House nominees.

Earlier this week, Senate Republicans filibustered the nomination of a judge to a key appeals court, the third such move since October. Democrats could not muster enough votes to overcome the manoeuvre.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Democrats had themselves used the filibuster during the two terms of President George W Bush.

Democrats used the filibuster tactic 38 times during Mr Bush's two terms, while Republicans used it 54 times in Mr Obama's first term, according to a June report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

"You may regret this a lot sooner than you think," Mr McConnell, the Senate's top Republican, said on the chamber floor.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley told the Washington Post earlier that if the motion passed, his party would retaliate if it regained control of the chamber.

He said they would change the rules again to block any Democratic filibusters of Republican Supreme Court nominees.

BBC News - Obama supports Senate rule change to curb filibusters (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-25042482)

bonehead
22 Nov 13,, 04:07
Lets wait and see what happens when the democrats finally lose control of the senate. If the most likely party to take over, the republicans do get a majority again we will see very quickly if they return the Senate to where it was yesterday or hold onto their anti filibuster rule they are crying about today. Once again I say it is a shame we don't have a viable third "moderate" party.

winton
22 Nov 13,, 11:29
I think if you were to replace harry reid, you'd get the same person. The game remains the same, just different players.

bigross86
22 Nov 13,, 13:32
Lets wait and see what happens when the democrats finally lose control of the senate. If the most likely party to take over, the republicans do get a majority again we will see very quickly if they return the Senate to where it was yesterday or hold onto their anti filibuster rule they are crying about today. Once again I say it is a shame we don't have a viable third "moderate" party.

Payback's a bitch. The Democrats are hosing the Republicans by ramming through a law which the Democrats themselves considered to be nothing short of tyranny just a few years ago. If the Republicans win back the Senate, I'd expect them to take this law and run with it as far they can. Never, ever, ever, ever let the Democrats filibuster anything ever again.

Politics is a dirty, disgusting, evil game, but in this case, if the Republicans wanted to shaft the Democrats, long and hard, I'd be all for it. Serves the Democrats right. What goes around comes around.

winton
22 Nov 13,, 13:56
Does this reform prevent similar govt shutdowns in future?

Wooglin
22 Nov 13,, 13:58
Does this reform prevent similar govt shutdowns in future?

Not at all. It assures the majority party can place unelected officials without opposition... or regardless of opposition.

astralis
22 Nov 13,, 14:14
good. the President should be able pick the people he wants on his own staff. i was for filibuster reform back in the Bush administration-- Reid was a fool for playing the obstructionist game then. Republicans were even bigger ones for doing so on a far higher volume during the current Administration.

zraver
22 Nov 13,, 14:32
The Filibuster used to be a tool fr keeping appointments moderate, but now there is no democracy in the senate, its mob rule. Asty, right on cue here you are cheering for our naked emperor and his elected sycophants. Shame.

astralis
22 Nov 13,, 14:44
z,


The Filibuster used to be a tool fr keeping appointments moderate,

no, the filibuster was used for everything BUT keeping appointments moderate. it was used for merely opposing the government agency in question, to make a rhetorical point, to keep the President from undoing a former political balance, etc.


Asty, right on cue here you are cheering for our naked emperor and his elected sycophants. Shame.

did you not read the second sentence of my original post? i don't care who eliminates the abuse of the filibuster; had Republicans succeeded under Bush i would have cheered them too.

as one poster to another, please stop making it personal. i don't call you a cheerleader for boehner/mcconnell and the republicans, either. i respect your independence of thought; i'd ask that you do the same for me.

zraver
22 Nov 13,, 15:47
z,



no, the filibuster was used for everything BUT keeping appointments moderate. it was used for merely opposing the government agency in question, to make a rhetorical point, to keep the President from undoing a former political balance, etc.

it forced both sides to seek compromise... Now it is mob rule. A rule of the senate dating to 1789 undone by a corrupt pig from Nevada



did you not read the second sentence of my original post? i don't care who eliminates the abuse of the filibuster; had Republicans succeeded under Bush i would have cheered them too.

Liberty secured by representative government should trump mob rule.

astralis
22 Nov 13,, 16:16
z,


it forced both sides to seek compromise... Now it is mob rule. A rule of the senate dating to 1789 undone by a corrupt pig from Nevada


one wonders how both sides compromised prior to the last 20-30 years. was it mob rule when it went unused in the past?

34412


Liberty secured by representative government should trump mob rule. .

going from 60 votes to 51 for nominations hardly represents a declination of representative government to mob rule.

for that matter, before the filibuster was abused, 51 votes was seen as good for legislation, not just nomination. the filibuster was supposed to be the "break only in case of emergency", not used every single time.

as ezra klein noted:

Nine reasons the filibuster change is a huge deal (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/11/21/9-reasons-the-filibuster-change-is-a-huge-deal/)


5. As Gregory Koger, a University of Miami political scientist who researches the filibuster, told me: “Over the last 50 years, we have added a new veto point in American politics. It used to be the House, the Senate and the president, and now it’s the House, the president, the Senate majority and the Senate minority. Now you need to get past four veto points to pass legislation. That’s a huge change of constitutional priorities. But it’s been done, almost unintentionally, through procedural strategies of party leaders.”

bfng3569
22 Nov 13,, 17:04
good. the President should be able pick the people he wants on his own staff. i was for filibuster reform back in the Bush administration-- Reid was a fool for playing the obstructionist game then. Republicans were even bigger ones for doing so on a far higher volume during the current Administration.

so court judges are now part of the Presidents staff?

why bother with the courts then.

astralis
22 Nov 13,, 17:23
i was referring to the Executive branch nominations.

but as for courts, yes, the President should be able to nominate people to the courts, with the judgment made based only on qualifications, not on political leanings. that's how the system is supposed to work. Justice Roberts, for instance, was nominated and put in place because everyone recognized he was supremely (bad pun intended) qualified, despite liberal unease due to him being an acknowledged conservative.

bfng3569
22 Nov 13,, 17:57
i was referring to the Executive branch nominations.

but as for courts, yes, the President should be able to nominate people to the courts, with the judgment made based only on qualifications, not on political leanings. that's how the system is supposed to work. Justice Roberts, for instance, was nominated and put in place because everyone recognized he was supremely (bad pun intended) qualified, despite liberal unease due to him being an acknowledged conservative.

should and does are two separate things.

Was Roberts nominated because he was 'qualified', or because he would be approved.

you've just removed the part that would keep political leanings out since the minority has no way to object to the nominee.

astralis
22 Nov 13,, 19:00
bfng,


you've just removed the part that would keep political leanings out since the minority has no way to object to the nominee.

that's because in the past, the minority just bit the bullet and accepted it-- knowing that when it was their turn to be in charge, they could do the same. the senate was built on tacit acceptances like this until recently.

that is why the filibuster was almost always unused until approximately 30 years ago.

zraver
22 Nov 13,, 22:11
bfng,



that's because in the past, the minority just bit the bullet and accepted it-- knowing that when it was their turn to be in charge, they could do the same. the senate was built on tacit acceptances like this until recently.

that is why the filibuster was almost always unused until approximately 30 years ago.

Well the Dems sure did bork that... This will be seen by future generations as a dark day for representative government.

bonehead
23 Nov 13,, 04:22
Well the Dems sure did bork that... This will be seen by future generations as a dark day for representative government.

Yeah. It sure sucks when a minority can no longer hold the majority hostage.

zraver
23 Nov 13,, 18:10
Yeah. It sure sucks when a minority can no longer hold the majority hostage.

Yes it does, it leaves us with majority rule. The minority voice has now been silenced...