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  •  I can't help thinking that the SCOTUS (20+ / 0-)

    would not touch this whilever they have a hole in their ass.

    What I would like to see is action against those who signed the Norquist Pledge, on the grounds that it is in direct contradiction to their Oaths of Office.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:35:38 PM PST

    •  It's clearly a political question. (33+ / 0-)

      And I suspect the representatives bringing the suit know that, and are bringing it to call attention to the problem, rather than seriously making the case they're making.  They're trying to bring the suit under 28 U.S.C.§1331, which is a good sign it isn't serious.

      Joan, here's the filing if anyone's interested in reading it.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:41:55 PM PST

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      •  Thanks Pico (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pico, elwior, Onomastic, thomask, Larsstephens

        That makes sense.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        by twigg on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:24:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks (8+ / 0-)

        and I think yo're right.

        "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

        by Joan McCarter on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:30:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I am curious about that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bear83, BlueStateRedhead

        It seems that it is t necessarily a political question, although it is t a doctrine I am an expert in. (So I'm seeking a little edumacshun). The Senate's authority to set rules must be bounded by other constitutional provisions.  They couldn't, for example strip votes from black senators, so there must be some governing principle where that authority ends.  It does seem that here there are some discernible principles of law and constitutional construction to be applied which would make it justifiable, wouldn't it?

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 07:29:15 PM PST

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        •  No doubt, but what governing principle (0+ / 0-)

          would be in effect here?  For rules that are strictly procedural, the Constitution grants both chambers full control over their own rules (Article 1, Section 5).  It's hard to see how the cloture rule violates any principle that overrides that power, especially when the Senate adopted those rules by unanimous consent...

          Stripping votes from Black Senators would violate all kinds of laws, not to mention Equal Protection.  I'm not sure I see anything similar here.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 10:37:37 PM PST

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          •  exactly (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pico

            we can argue that it's wrong, or unhelpful, or anti-democratic, etc and work to change it but the Constitution clearly and unambiguously gives them full power to set their own procedural rule and the filibuster is by definition a procedural rule.

          •  Interestingly enough (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pico

            I was going to suggest that passing both houses by majority would be the violated principle.  However, reviewing the text of Art I, section 7 I find no mention of any majority requirement, just that it be done by Yeas and Nays. So, I guess if the Senate wants to require unanimity to pass laws it very well could  

            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

            by Mindful Nature on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:57:18 AM PST

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      •  can someone explain... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bear83

        why these rules don't violate "one man - one vote" ?  It makes each minority vote bigger than a majority vote.  

        Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

        by dweb8231 on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 07:48:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  How so? (0+ / 0-)

          Aren't 2/3 votes constitutionally kosher (and in some cases, required) for certain procedures?  Why would the Senate self-selecting a higher threshold for cloture be any more problematic?

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 10:12:02 PM PST

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          •  Yes, the constitution does set... (0+ / 0-)

            2/3rds requirements in a very few specific instances.  The cloture rule (60 votes) and constitutional amendments like California's super majority vote requirement for bills involving tax increases however, do not fall under that Constitutional stricture.

            Congress has made laws in the past which have later been found unconstitutional.  I do recognize the reluctance of the courts to get into the rules of the Senate, but the plain fact is that with a cloture rule, those who lost elections have defacto given themselves far more power than the electorate gave them.

            The voters said they want tax rates on the wealthiest increased as evidence by the outcome of the election and by polls.  But if a bill is proposed to do that, a minority of Republicans could simply filibuster under the existing rules and block the vote.  

            They don't have a majority, but if they are given the right to demand 60 votes instead of 51, even though they are in the minority, they have, in effect, given themselves votes worth >1, while the majority's votes are <1  

            Prior to the recent election in CA, Republicans, who were hanging one or two seats shy of less than one-third of the Legislature, still managed to deny voters a referendum on whether or not they wanted to extend existing taxes to help reduce the deficit.  It took a ballot initiative to force that vote and the voters spoke and agreed to increase taxes.  (The GOP clearly was deadly afraid of any vote because if the voters approved the increase it would blow a hole in their long-standing assertion that taxpayers do not want any tax increases ever.)

            The courts have established the precedent of one person, one vote.  Why is this not a violation of that precedent?  Yes the Constitution says the legislature can set its own rules, but what if a court challenge led to a court decision that the rules they set are unconstitutional?

            Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

            by dweb8231 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:00:30 AM PST

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            •  Here's the problem: (0+ / 0-)
              those who lost elections have defacto given themselves far more power than the electorate gave them.
              No, because those who won the elections proposed that rule, and it was passed unanimously (as it usually is) at the start of the session.

              "One person, one vote" is the wrong way to frame this discussion: it's a meaningless argument in the face of procedural rules of this kind.  Your better angle is to cite United States v. Ballin and argue that cloture effectively trumps the majority votes required of the Constitution.  It's still a longshot, but it's at least a defensible argument.

              Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

              by pico on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:33:14 AM PST

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        •  Article1, Section 5, paragraph 2 (0+ / 0-)

          US Constitution.

          Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, ...
          In short, they have exclusive right to do anything they want.  They could require unanimous consent to pass any legislation or, on the other hand, if one Senator consents to a House action then it is considered adopted by the Senate.  

          These are two extremes, but it illustrates the power to set their own rules, fairness does not enter into this discussion except as an abstract principle.

          However, I think Pico is right, this is a message, sent via lawsuit.  

          On the practical side, the Supreme court is not going to touch this issue (except to deny any appeal citing Art 1.5.2,

          There are WAY to many ways the Senate and House can screw with the Supreme court if it interjects and meddles with their privileges and rules.  The Supreme court sticking their nose into Senate business will make the Senate want to meddle back... Hard.

          Clear Now?

          ... the watchword of true patriotism: "Our country - when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right." - Carl Schurz; Oct. 17, 1899

          by NevDem on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 11:42:52 PM PST

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    •  Yeah (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twigg, Onomastic, HappyinNM, Larsstephens

      I have a hard time seeing it move forward and not just being dismissed now. It's hard to imagine a judge wanting to get into this.

      "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

      by Joan McCarter on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:29:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I read about this case this morning in the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Nelson, bear83, Larsstephens

        Washington Post.

        While it seems unlikely that a judge would take the case, this bit of banter made it seem as if the judge was interested.

        “It’s beyond the power of the court to line edit the Senate rules,” said Thomas E. Caballero, an attorney for the Senate who described the stalled bills as the “natural outcome” of the legislative process.

        At one point, Sullivan asked, “So, House members are just out of luck?”

        The judge gave Senate attorneys until Thursday to respond to the questions of whether there is a constitutional right to have bills passed by majority vote, and whether the filibuster process violates that right.

        I don't know where it goes after there. However, regarding standing, Common Cause has clients who were denied rights based on the Senate filibustering the Dream Act. It should be interesting to follow.
    •  twigg - nothing unconstitutioanl about the (10+ / 0-)

      Norquest pledge for the simple reason that it isn't a legally binding contract. It is no different that if any member of Congress pledging to not cut SocSec or Medicare benefits. The remedies for taking or violating these pledges is political, not legal. Pledges are just another form of campaign promises.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:34:11 PM PST

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