Sunday, November 13, 2016

Will Republicans End the Filibuster (Already Weakened by the Short-Sighted Democrats in 2013)?

On November 21, 2013, the Democratic-controlled Senate ended the filibuster to block approval of executive and judicial branch nominees (except for the Supreme Court).
Under the change, the Senate will be able to cut off debate on executive and judicial branch nominees with a simple majority rather than rounding up a supermajority of 60 votes. The new precedent established by the Senate on Thursday does not apply to Supreme Court nominations or legislation itself.
The Democrats were able to employ their newly won power for 13 and 1/2 months. On January 3, 2015, the Democrats lost their majority in the Senate.

The Democrats were able to block Republicans from using the same power for another two years while Barack Obama was president. But, on January 20, 2017, President-elect Donald Trump, will assume the presidency. Then the Republicans will be able to use that unfettered appointment power against the Democrats for at least two years.

So far the loss in power for the Democrats is turning out to be 23 and a half months (January 20, 2017 to January 3, 2018) vs. 13 and 1/2 months of gain (November 21, 2013 to January 3, 2015). Not quite a 50% failure, but close.

The question now is will the Republicans be equally brainless and end the filibuster on Supreme Court nominations (and legislation)? Will Senator Mitch McConnell heed his own words?
“You think this is in the best interest of the United States Senate and the American people?” asked the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, sounding incredulous.
“I say to my friends on the other side of the aisle, you’ll regret this. And you may regret it a lot sooner than you think,” he added.
Regret has come to the Democrats in less than four years. Will Republicans be willing to destroy one of the nation's jewels of checks and balances* for two years of power and one supreme court appointment that at best will put things back to the status quo ante? Get out the popcorn.
*The filibuster is a delaying tactic that ensures important decisions have the acquiescence of at least 3/5ths of the States through their senators. If 2/5ths plus one senator are against a nomination or piece of legislation enough to hold up Senate processes, it means the issue is serious enough to be considered further until 3/5ths of the senators clearly decide to oppose the filibuster. It is a protection of the significant minority from majority overreach and gives 21 states protection from being crushed by the other 29.


MAX Redline said...

Much like their understanding of the underlying reasons for the Electoral College, a lot of folks today have no understanding of the importance of the filibuster. Excellent post, TD! Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of faith in many of today's "Republicans".

T. D. said...

I think the best way to explain it to liberals is that if you have strict majority rule there's no protection for minorities. But, I'm afraid it's not only Republicans but the whole society who want everything "now" rather than go through processes that protect from bad decision making and in the process some good decision making. It's only no brainer stuff that gets through scott free.