Every Senator takes an oath upon election and prior to serving in the Senate. That oath states:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.Source.
So while I am glad that the fight for filibuster reform continues, your comments on the matter have been troubling, to say the least.
As the majority leader, I intend to run the Senate with respect for the rules, for the minority rights that the rules protects. [...] I'll do my part as majority leader to foster respect for the rules and traditions of our great institution. I say here, Mr. President, on this floor that I love so much, that I believe in the Golden Rule. I am going to treat my Republican colleagues the way that I expect to be treated. There's no "gotcha," no "get even." I will do everything that I can to preserve the rule and the tradtions of this institution that I love.No man can serve two masters, Senator, and no Senator can serve both the United States Constitution and the currently broken Senate Rules. You have to choose. More importantly, you already chose.
I previously wrote about how the Senate was designed to operate as a Constitutional check on majority rule. But perhaps I didn't put enough into when I wrote that the Constitution was not designed to protect political parties, it was designed to protect people.
The protection of the Senate minority is a bipartisan affair. There's not a lot of space between Reid and McConnell on this one, because no one is considering what ought to be plain: the Senate Filibuster is unconstitutional.
Not yet convinced? Here's what the Constitution has to say about protecting minority party rights in the Senate:
.And here's what's in the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which were passed to eliminate concerns that "We the People" had with the original version and have become collectively known as the Bill of Rights:
.As detailed better elsewhere by others, the drafters of the Constitution hated the idea of government by super-majority.
And what did they think of political parties? Well, the Constitutional Convention was chaired by George Washington. After serving as the first United States President, what did he say about political parties? Perhaps he thought it was important to protect them in the system of government, and safeguard their rights?
All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle [of self-Government], and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.Of course, Jefferson and Adams had already faced off and the country was split into competing factionalism anyway, despite Washington's Farewell Letter.
However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
One more point, on all of this. Here's the dire prophesy of Tom Coburn:
“I think the backlash will be severe,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), the conservative firebrand, said sternly. “If you take away minority rights, which is what you’re doing because you’re an ineffective leader, you’ll destroy the place. And if you destroy the place, we’ll do what we have to do to fight back.”You know who else had the filibuster, but abolished it? The United States House of Representatives, in 1842. Last I checked, it's still there.
So Senator Reid, as I said, you must make a choice. Where do you stand? With the design of government chosen by the People and embodied in the Constitution for over 200 years, or with the 20th century filibuster? With the American voters, who have sent 100 Senators to Washington D.C. in order to pass legislation, or with Senate rules and tradition? Remember when you're picking - you swore an oath.