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The Senate Filibuster Rule

This topic was discussed on December 2, 2013.

The Democrat-controlled Senate has finally taken what both sides had previously referred to as the “nuclear option”…amending Senate procedural rules to prohibit filibusters of certain Presidential appointments. We should examine the role of the “filibuster rule” in the context of the rest of our governance:

  • Is it true that requiring a supermajority is part of the essential difference between the House and the Senate? (Others being longer terms and differences in the matters each house is empowered to consider.)
  • Are the recent Republican efforts to block Obama Administration appointees “beyond the pale,” effectively requiring the Democrats to make the change, or does it reflect polarization on both sides (with the Administration proposing candidates with more “extreme” (or “reliable”) views?
  • This is particularly important for lifetime appointments of Federal judges…should that policy be revisited?

Here are two recent Washington Post Op-Ed pieces on the subject:

20131124 Bipartisan Approval Lends a Sense of Balance to the Judiciary (WP)

20131125 A Nuclear End to Denial (WP)

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