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View Diary: Common Cause, Members of Congress sue to end filibuster (74 comments)

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  •  How to Get Rid of Filibusters (2+ / 0-)
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    Simplify, gtomkins
    •  That nuclear option (1+ / 0-)
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      Liberal Thinking

      Your earlier post basicly outlined the nuclear option.

      One consequernce that would follow if the nuclear option is actually valid, is that the lawsuit is not going anywhere.  If any and all Senate rules can be overturned by a simple majority of the Senate at any time, then the filibuster rule does not create a para-Constitutional requirement for supermajorities on any votes beyond those the Constitution says require supermajorities.  A simple majority still gets to assert itself.  It just has to use a preliminary vote canning the filibuster before it can proceed to the simple majority vote on the bill in question.

      If its rules can be overturned at any time by the simple majority that the Constitution calls for for most votes, then the Senate could have rules that grant or deny Senate passage to bills based on any random criteria they care to establish.  They could put in a rule that says that a coin should be tossed and "heads" means passage, and "tails" means defeat.  As long as that rule has the ongoing support of the majority, then whatever the coin toss decides is actually the will of the majority.

      We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

      by gtomkins on Fri May 18, 2012 at 04:51:27 AM PDT

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      •  It's a Good Argument (1+ / 0-)
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        gtomkins

        But, as I read it, that's exactly what the Constitution says. It says that each house is competent to make its own rules. Therefore, "They could put in a rule that says that a coin should be tossed and 'heads' means passage, and 'tails' means defeat."

        Only the people of the United States would be able to do anything about it--by voting sufficient numbers of silly Senators out of office.

        If my procedure makes the lawsuit invalid (which it actually does), I'm happy for that because it also makes the filibuster invalid. My reading of this is that the Constitution leaves each house with majority rule. Any majority in the Senate can therefore go back to the Constitution at any time and reboot the system.

        •  Any structure would be unconstitutional (1+ / 0-)
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          Liberal Thinking

          The filibuster is far from the only rule, of either chamber and not just the Senate, that prevents all proposed laws from getting a simple majority vote.  If you have a committee structure that assigns all proposed bills to be evaluated by some committee, and only allowed to proceed to a floor vote if they pass a committee vote, then you have prevented the majority from prevailing even more effectively than the filibuster does.  If you let leadership move only some bills to final consideration, and the clock to run out on others, then you have denied majority rule even more effectively than the filibuster.  If you have any structure or order at all to Senate proceedings that keeps any random entity from introducing any bill he or she chooses, and as many as they choose, and don't require a simple majority up or down vote on each and every one, that order and structure is more effective at frustrating majority will than the filibuster.

          What keeps the filibuster and all of these other rules in step with the Constitutional requirement that both chambers decide all but six defined types of vote by a simple majority, is that all of these rules can be set aside at any time by the constitutionally prescribed simple majority.  Both bodies need rules and regular order to allow them to function at all, but any such order has to have the effect of keeping some things from being voted up or down by the full chamber.  The saving grace that keeps all such rules in line with majority rule is that the majority can set aside any rule when it has the effect of frustrating that majority's will, rather than facilitating it by making it possible for the chamber to run smoothly.

          This lawsuit may not make any valid points against the filibuster, but it does have this effect of exposing the notion that the nuclear option is arguably a necessary feature of all rules in either chamber.  A simple majority has to be able to repeal any such rule at any time, or the constitutional mandate for settling most votes by simple majorities is arguably violated.

          We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

          by gtomkins on Fri May 18, 2012 at 08:06:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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