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Filibuster compromise

Discussion in 'The OT' started by pjmrt, May 23, 2005.

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  1. May 23, 2005 #1 of 132
    pjmrt

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    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,157431,00.html

    Looks like both sides worked a deal that gets a vote on the floor for the judges and sidesteps the filibuster rule vote which would have further polarized things. Looks like dems and republicans can play well together - sometimes.
     
  2. May 24, 2005 #2 of 132
    Bogy

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    Well, we can only hope this means that in the next administration, when a Democrat sits in the White House, Republican Senators will still believe that the Presidents nominees should at least get an up or down vote, if not a simple rubber stamp.
     
  3. May 24, 2005 #3 of 132
    Richard King

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    I think the only sensible solution to this is to rewrite the rules to prohibit filibusters on judicial nominations. This agreement simply delays the inevitable.
     
  4. May 24, 2005 #4 of 132
    Bogy

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    If hard line Republicans AND hard line Democrats are smart they will go along with this. Polls show that the majority of Americans are fed up with both sides on this issue. If the hard liners on either side refuse to compromise they will be seen as obstructionists and it is not that long before some of them are going to be facing reelection. If both sides decide to hold their ground they will all be in trouble. Voters are smart enough that they are not buying the spin that the nominees in question are moderates with no personal agenda. With the Senate and the nation so narrowly split, Bush could have avoided all this if he had come up with nominees without such an obvious personal agenda in the first place. When the AG has criticized a nominee for attempting to write law instead of interpreting the constitution its a hard sell to the public.
     
  5. May 24, 2005 #5 of 132
    Danny R

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    I think the only sensible solution to this is to rewrite the rules to prohibit filibusters on judicial nominations.

    The only way I'd agree with this is if the rules were changes so that nominees couldn't be blocked in committee either (the traditional republican tactic).

    My preference of course would be to keep both in place.
     
  6. May 24, 2005 #6 of 132
    Capmeister

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    My objection to all this is treating Senate organizational rules as if they were the Constitution. Last night one of those Senators said they'd saved the Republic. Horsehockey. No one laments the death of the House filibuster and if the Senate one went away, no one but partisans would care. These people think far too much of themselves.
     
  7. May 24, 2005 #7 of 132
    Richard King

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    Hopefully we can ALL agree on that one. :D
     
  8. May 24, 2005 #8 of 132
    Geronimo

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    I don't believe that the House ever had filibusters. The rules have always been different in the two bodies.

    It seems to me that this one of those issues where people's view of a procedual issue is determined by the way it applies in this particualr case. My preference is NOT to change the rules to suit a situation but I recognize that I may be as biased as everyone else.
     
  9. May 24, 2005 #9 of 132
    Capmeister

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    And you base your belief on.... what?

    http://66.216.126.164/comment/barnes200503070752.asp

     
  10. May 24, 2005 #10 of 132
    Danny R

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    It seems to me that this one of those issues where people's view of a procedual issue is determined by the way it applies in this particualr case.

    Not in my case. Personally I'd rather not have a candidate that republican's couldn't agree on either if democrats were in power. The filibuster's purpose is to make certain that acts agreeable to BOTH parties pass through, thus preventing extreme legislation (or in this case candidates) from passing through.

    Since I've regularly advocated that the best form of government is when neither party has absolute control but power is shared, I'm in favor of keeping the filibuster (and committee blocks).

    My objection to all this is treating Senate organizational rules as if they were the Constitution.

    I agree, but along the same lines, I think its equally ridiculous when people say that the senate judicial filibusters are somehow unconstitutional as well. The Constitution specifically says each house makes its own rules, and this is one of them. There is no requirement that the whole body give a yes/no vote for nominees.
     
  11. May 24, 2005 #11 of 132
    cdru

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    Agreed. When our government was forming, a series of checks and balances were put into place. They have evolved over the years to include things like filibustering. This allows a minority to check the majority. The majority still can work around it, but it takes more then just a simple majority to break the deadlock.

    When the presidency and both houses start leaning significantly to the right or left, it causes problems. When permanent judicial positions start leaning that way as well, it makes it even worse. It doesn't matter if you are republican or democrat, when everyone leans one way, eventually something is going to tip.

    I'm just waiting for when Rehnquist steps down and someone a little to far to the right gets nominated. We'll see if this deal lasts and filibustering is allowed, or if the issue gets brought up again and filibustering goes to the chopping block.
     
  12. May 24, 2005 #12 of 132
    Bogy

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    On the one hand conservatives complain that judges have to much power. On the other hand they want to confirm conservative judges with a simple majority. Considering the power and responsibility of the office, my opinion is that if 60 Senators can't agree on a nominee it might be time to look for another nominee.

    Considering that the majority of judges, including those on the Supreme Court were nominated by Republican presidents it is funny to me that Republicans and conservatives have so many complaints about judges. What it shows it that once they have the office, particularly one at or near the top, many judges DO leave partisanship behind and interpret the law without personal agendas. For the conservatives this is a problem, because they WANT them to maintain those conservative agendas. This is probably why some of the current nominees are so conservative. If they move toward center they will still be very conservative. :lol:
     
  13. May 24, 2005 #13 of 132
    Geronimo

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    the Barnes piece has made the rounds of right wing blogs lately. Older pieces tend to discuss it as filibuster only in quotation marls since it was a way of stopping the House from doing business at all. It did not allow debate to continue. It actually stopped business.

    As it turns out though the early House did have filibusters in the true sense of the word. but the practice ended long before Speaker Reed's time. So I was completely off base in stating the House never had them.

    My own opinion here is pretty similar to Danny's. I don't favor changing the rules for specific situations. I think he makes an excellent case for that point of view.
     
  14. May 24, 2005 #14 of 132
    Capmeister

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    You say "purpose" as if it was a rule made rather than a loophole found. The "purpose" is for the minority to hold the majority at bay. That's not the right of a minority party--that's the FUNCTION of the CONSTITUTION (to hold at bay the scope of power of the government.)
     
  15. May 24, 2005 #15 of 132
    cdru

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    Now there would be a refreshing idea. Judges...interpreting laws...as they are written...not as their agenda sees fit.
     
  16. May 24, 2005 #16 of 132
    SAEMike

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    That is what committees are for. Governments have committees to weed out nominations or legislation that should not make it to the floor of the Senate, or the House. If we disallow Congressmen to kill items in committee we will see the floor of both houses bogged down with legislation that never stands a chance and should never make it to the floor. This is why we have committees.
     
  17. May 24, 2005 #17 of 132
    Danny R

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    You say "purpose" as if it was a rule made rather than a loophole found.

    Originally I think it may have been a loophole that no limits were set on debate, but that can't be said for its use today. The rule makers since then (and the filibuster has been altered several times) were VERY aware that requiring a super majority to end debate means that they thought it a good idea that acts not pass without such majorities.

    An example of a loophole would be the "silent" filibuster you mentioned earlier, where the member was present but avoided making himself known.

    That is what committees are for.

    Not quite. Nominees were blocked in committee by one person so that they never even came for a committee vote. How does that fit in with the purpose of a committee, when the committee members can't even see the nominee either?

    Complaining about one method of blocking a nominee without complaining about the other is hypocritical.
     
  18. May 24, 2005 #18 of 132
    jonstad

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    As long as we are locked into a strict two party system, and with one Independent in each house, the rest Ds & Rs, that would seem to be the case, there needs to be some mechanism for the minority to be heard, especially when the majority margin is only several percentage points. In our two party system, one party is always guaranteed a majority.

    The founders never foresaw this. They expected multiple parties with at least some third and fourth party representation and they accounted for this possibility with such contraptions as the Electoral College. And for most of the history of the Republic, this has been the case. Even though normally only two parties have had the ability to elect Presidents, third and fourth parties usually had SOME representation in Congress and state and local office too.

    If it's to be absolute rule by majority, a tyranny of the majority, no matter how slim the margin, then everyone else might as well just pack up and go home. And while Republicans might not currently object, 15 years ago they'd of been singing a different tune.

    The mantra of the Republicans now, with their razor thin "majority", is any objection or criticism is obstruction or purely partisan politics. During the last administration though, "an up or down vote" was NOT considered the Constitutional right of every judicial nominee. In fact a vast number, far higher then the Bush appointees "obstructed", never even made it out of committee, and not just on idealogical of philosophical grounds. Often nominees were blocked for petty personal and political reasons.

    The GOP has become a bunch of petulent bullies, steamrolling their agenda through and when met with any resistance, crying like a child who's had its pacifier taken away.

    I think the only solution to the current ugly situation is a return to third and fourth party viability. This would probably take election reforms including public funding. But can you imagine the different atmosphere if 20-30 Greens and/or Libertarians were in the House? 5-10 in the Senate? Representatives that haven't had to swear a blood loyalty oath to the Donkeys or Elephants? There would have to be civilized discussion and negotiation and compromise. All sides would be heard and all viewpoints would be taken into consideration before any legislation was passed. Parties with the most representation would STILL have the best shot at getting their policies implemented. Under the current paradigm, we might as well just elect a king for four years and do away with the legislative branch altogether!
     
  19. May 24, 2005 #19 of 132
    BuckeyeChris

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    jonstad: Have you ever had a comment/opinion that didn't take six or more paragraphs to get your point across? ;)

    Please don't take this personally, but I think your posts would be more effective if you could summarize your arguments into one or two paragraphs, or better yet, use bullet points. This suggestion is coming from someone who makes his living writing communications, so I can back up what I say. I think you are one of the most intellectual posters on this board, and you make some good points. However, I usually stop reading after the first few sentences because it seems to ramble on.
     
  20. May 24, 2005 #20 of 132
    Geronimo

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    How is the filibuster a loophole? the Senate has a rule on the number of votes needed to cut off debate. In the early part of the 20th century it was made a 2/3 vote. It was subsequently changed and today 60 votes are required. Not only are filibusters part of the Senate rules there is even a Senate rule about the size of the majority necessary to change the filibuster rule itself.

    Can that rule be changed? Sure. But the ability of a group of senators to hold the floor is not just a loophole. A lophole is tehre by accident. The filibuster rule is there by design.
     
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