Filibuster

Will Democrats Really Nuke the Filibuster—and What Happens If They Do?

Are Mitch McConnell's threats credible, or is he a paper tiger?

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President Joe Biden's agenda has stalled on Capitol Hill halfway through his first 100 days in office. Biden's supporters fear that if Democrats in Congress don't act soon, they will have squandered their best opportunity to pass such policy priorities as a climate action bill, election legislation, and immigration reform. Supporters are especially frustrated with Senate Democrats for allowing their chamber's Republicans to filibuster bills passed by the Democratic-controlled House.

The Senate, unlike the House, permits a minority of its members to block bills supported by a majority. Specifically, Rule 22 requires three-fifths of the Senate (60 senators) to vote to end a filibuster by invoking cloture on a bill. To end a filibuster of a proposal to change the Senate's rules, Rule 22 says you need even more votes: two thirds of the senators present and voting. (Normally that's 67 people.) In effect, Republicans can block a final vote on Democratic priorities because the Senate's rules require more votes to end debate on a bill than they do to approve it.

A growing number of Biden's supporters want Senate Democrats to abolish the filibuster through another route: the so-called nuclear option. This is a procedural maneuver senators can use to ignore, circumvent, or otherwise change the Senate's standing rules by a simple majority vote in direct violation of those rules. Basically, they create a new precedent that is inconsistent with Rule 22 but nevertheless supersedes it.

Yet just because Senate Democrats can use the nuclear option to eliminate the filibuster does not guarantee they will do so. Democrats must first secure the votes required to go nuclear before using the maneuver to jump-start Biden's stalled agenda. And their ability to do that is contingent on the actions of individual Democrats and Republicans.

Before 2013, Senate majorities used the nuclear option only rarely. In November of that year, Democrats employed it to abolish the filibuster for all presidential nominations other than Supreme Court justices. In 2017, Republicans used it to abolish the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations. They deployed it again in 2019 to shorten the amount of debate permitted under the rules after the Senate has invoked cloture on a nominee but before a final confirmation vote.

Notwithstanding this increased willingness to use the maneuver, Democrats may not be able to go nuclear in the weeks ahead. Both Sens. Joe Manchin (D–W. Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D–Ariz.) have both publicly opposed doing away with the filibuster at all. And several other Democrats who might be willing to end the filibuster have not yet publicly committed to doing so via the nuclear option.

These holdouts may believe they benefit from the filibuster. Or they may think that the costs of eliminating the filibuster are greater than those associated with maintaining the Senate's status quo. Regardless of the reason, Democrats need every single Democratic senator, plus Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote, if they are to use the nuclear option successfully in the evenly divided Senate.

Meanwhile, Republicans could retaliate if Democrats abolish the filibuster. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) has already threatened that if the Democrats use the nuclear option and the Republicans then take the majority, he could use the maneuver in the future to pass legislative priorities opposed by Democrats. If such threats convince rank-and-file Democrats that it would be harder to achieve their individual goals in a post-nuclear Senate, that may be sufficient to deter Democrats from supporting the nuclear option.

That said, the GOP's past behavior may undermine the credibility of McConnell's threat: Republicans did not retaliate when Democrats used the nuclear option in 2013, and they used it themselves in 2017 and 2019. The specific nature of McConnell's threat may also weaken its deterrent effect: By signaling that a Republican majority would be likely to go nuclear in the future, it could lead Democrats to discount the utility of adhering to the rules in the present.

Notably, McConnell did not threaten immediate retaliation that would impact rank-and-file Democrats if they support going nuclear, beyond vaguely suggesting that doing so could theoretically cost Republican cooperation moving forward. Republicans made similar unspecified threats in 2013, and they were not successful in stopping Democrats from using the nuclear option.

That said, Democrats' expectation of retaliation may temper some senators' willingness to support the nuclear option because the perceived costs of doing so could exceed the benefits they hope to gain. The filibuster's fate is contingent on Democratic senators' cost-benefit calculations—and on Republicans' ability to nudge those calculations in the direction they prefer.

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  1. “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) has already threatened that if the Democrats use the nuclear option and the Republicans then take the majority, he could use the maneuver in the future to pass legislative priorities opposed by Democrats.”

    Oh please. Mitch McConnell would have to grow a spine first. He had the votes to push things through several times in the past few years and didn’t do it. He’s a big reason why Trump got elected in the first place.

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  2. That said, the GOP’s past behavior may undermine the credibility of McConnell’s threat: Republicans did not retaliate when Democrats used the nuclear option in 2013, and they used it themselves in 2017 and 2019.

    I believe that’s called retaliation. Turtleboy warned the Democrats that if they went nuclear it would bite them in the ass, and it did. Turtleboy is on thin ice with Trumpistas right now for being too weak, too unwilling to fight, if he doesn’t retaliate (and even if he does) he’s likely to be gone.

    And don’t get me started on what’s going to have to happen in the House if the Democrats go ahead and replace the certified Republican winner of the Iowa race with the certified Democrat loser after all their hysterics about Trump trying to steal the election. If Republicans re-take the House and don’t immediately go chimpanzee on the Democrat’s asses, there’s going to be a lot of pissed off people.

    1. He’s 79 now, and doesn’t come up for reelection until 2024. I’m not sure he cares about whether he’ll win another election.

      1. I think the biggest concern for old Cocaine Mitch right now is feathering his nest and playing the part of principled opposition for his oligarch overlords.

        1. He’s a survivor. It’s just that I think his big fight now is against Father Time, and not any of his political enemies. Who knows though? Maybe he wants to emulate Strom Thurmond?

          He can’t realistically think he’s ever going to sniff a Senate Majority Chair again, can he?

          1. I could very easily see Republicans not figuring out who is supposed to lead the Senate long-term in 2023, so they make him majority leader as a short term fix.

    2. It’s Trump (and his followers) fault that the Democrats hold the Senate. Both GA seats would have gone to GOP without the capital riots.

      1. Nope.

      2. Yeah, mail in balloting had nothing to do with it. /s

        1. Right. Can’t have voting be too easy, or else the wrong people get to vote.

          1. Non citizens?

      3. Lol, the Georgia election was as big of a fiddle as the presidential one. Trump could have won every voter in the state and the result wouldn’t have looked any different.

        1. In this run-off election when EVERYTHING hinged on the Senate seats, I find it very hard to fathom that the Republican candidate for PSC District 4 received more votes than did 3 of the 4 Senate candidates. I have to admit the possibility that thousands of people would vote for Jon Ossoff *and* Bubba whatever his name was, and that there is a possibility that thousands of people would vote for Republican Bubba for PSC but not vote for either Republican for Senate.

          Sure, it’s possible.

          I’m just dumbfounded by it, so much so that if it came out later that somehow 15 or 20k votes for Republican senators were erased but the perp forgot to erase a similar number of votes for Bubba down-ballot, it would make a lot more sense than the alternative voting patterns.

      4. Georgia runoff: Jan 5th
        Capitol riot: Jan 6th

        Cause and effect may be reversed…

      5. Litigation over the GA ballots is still going on. The court there has granted a genuine audit can be done on the approximately 125,000 mail in ballots in just Fulton county (Biden’s winning margin in all of GA was under 12,000.) Results of the audit seem likely to appear late April or early May. They’ll be checking for simple things like folds on the mail-in ballots (no folds on mail-in ballots is highly suspicious), paper type, whether the ballots have genuine user entered marks or literally pre-printed, and of course count cross checks with the Dominion machines. Any significant issues found would open up opportunities to examine ballots in other counties. Full and proper ballot auditing is, as I understand it, going to happen in Arizona.

        It may seem odd that full ballot audits haven’t been done in these states, given claims in the media, but authorities have been fighting tooth and nail to keep the ballots from being examined by third parties. Whether it is simply a CYA response (they would not look good if problems are found) or sinister or just a knee-jerk exercise of authority, the simple fact is that resolution should happen, one way or another months after the election.

        You wont find coverage of the various litigation going on in Reason because there are no actual reporters on staff. They mostly collate the work of reporters elsewhere and add their commentary. That’s it. Nor is there any interest in an objective examination the (deliberately, btw) low profile ongoing litigation by less known players.

        1. Correction: there were 147,000 mail-in ballots in Fulton county out of 550,000 total.

      6. Uh, the Capitol riots occurred on the day after the Georgia runoffs.

      7. Somebody missed the corrected talking point email. No 50 cents for you.

      8. You’re an idiot

  3. “it could lead Democrats to discount the utility of adhering to the rules in the present.”

    Like accepting ballots after the election. Haveing governers and judges change election laws, and pushing to overturn the election of a gop house member? Are these rules the (D) might not adhear to?

    1. I do wonder why sullum hasn’t followed up his 50 article rant about the various states declaring election rule changes illegal.

      1. …or why he hasn’t uttered a word about the above-mentioned rumored removal of the winner of the IA House race.

        1. My guess? The medication changes are finally taking effect.

          (FUCK YOU SULLUM.)

      2. I wouldn’t know. I don’t click sullum articles anymore

      3. Rich Uncle Charles didn’t pay him too.
        Jacob Sullum’s mutli-mutli-mutli-article rant was just good ol’ fashioned brown-envelope journalism.

        1. “mutli”
          What the hell was I smoking this morning?

          1. An error so nice you made it thrice.

    2. But no mean tweets. Institutionalizing voter fraud at the federal level, $3 trillion in new spending, further gutting Title IX due process, gutting the Second Amendment and handing educational decisions over to the teachers’ unions are all AOK just as long as we don’t have to read those mean tweets.

      1. That would be $4.9 trillion this year so far, figuring $1.9 for the latest stimulus package and $3 trillion for infrastructure, et. al.

        1. It gets even worse. $3 trillion for ‘climate change’. In which $2.95 trillion will go to democrats and their allies.

    3. “…no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact…”

      For all of you 2020 election truthers out there, do you realize that Sydney Powell’s lawyers just called you all unreasonable people for believing that what she said was factual?

      1. Unlike you, my beliefs don’t rise or fall based upon a single politician’s beliefs. I tend to stick to principles over principals. You must go the opposite route.

  4. I am beginning to understand why Pelosi is keeping troops and fences in the capital.

    1. And why the troops have to be politically vetted.

      1. And now brainwashed. Literally telling soldiers BLM riots don’t count as domestic violence.

      2. And sleep on the floor while “immigrants “ get hotel rooms.

        1. In a parking deck.

    2. It’s the same reason the Democrats want gun control: They’ve always known that their plans would make people want to shoot them.

      Now they’re approaching the point where they move from planning on pissing people off, to actually doing the pissing off.

  5. Will Democrats Really Nuke the Filibuster—and What Happens If They Do?

    Yes and, no more mean tweets.

    1. Priorities People!

  6. This article is missing McConnell’s latest “scorched earth” threat over the filibuster.

    “In both the House of Representatives and the Senate, a quorum is a simple majority of their respective members”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quorum#United_States

    The important point here is that the Vice President’s vote doesn’t count in the establishment of a quorum, and the Democrats don’t have the votes to establish a quorum without a Republican.

    McConnell can fight to deny the Democrats a quorum on every single vote–and not just on the Green New Deal, gun legislation, etc. The Republicans can deny the Democrats a quorum on every single motion every single day. And it’s not just the quorum the Democrats need to worry about.

    The Republicans can not only use the same rules the Democrats use when they retake the Senate to impose their own legislation but also can use the 44 standing rules of the Senate to deprive the Democrats of the ability to do anything–from taking a roll call much less take a vote.

    This is McConnell’s real threat.

    1. McConnell can fight to deny the Democrats a quorum on every single vote–and not just on the Green New Deal, gun legislation, etc. The Republicans can deny the Democrats a quorum on every single motion every single day. And it’s not just the quorum the Democrats need to worry about.

      And with no Republicans on the floor, who’s going to make a quorum call or demand a roll-call vote? Without a quorum call or a call for the yeas and nays, there’s no evidence of an absence of a quorum.

      1. Yes, I was going to point that out; Congress routinely conducts business without a quorum, so long as you don’t have a quorum call or roll call vote putting the absence of a quorum on the record, the courts refuse to care.

        For that matter, all it takes is one or two Republican Senators giving McConnell the finger and showing up, (They can even vote “present”.) and the Democrats both have their quorum, AND can assemble a supermajority of those present while losing a substantial fraction of their own members on the vote.

        Threatening to deny a quorum isn’t as solid a threat as it’s made out to be.

        1. The senator you’re talking about is Susan Collins, and she’s upset that the Biden administration keeps giving her the finger.

          “Ms. Collins said she was frustrated by the brushoff and subsequent interactions.

          “Why they would want to alienate the Republican most likely to work with them to find common ground is truly a mystery to me. And it’s obviously a very poor strategy,” she said in an interview”.

          —-WSJ, March 20, 2021

          https://www.wsj.com/articles/sen-susan-collins-sees-poor-strategy-in-white-house-rebuffing-gop-11616232601?

          We should always remember that just because the people in power are in power doesn’t mean they’re smart enough to understand what’s in their own best interests much less everyone else’s.

          Regardless of whether you believe the Republicans will follow through on McConnell’s threats, these are the threats that McConnell is making–and this article should have mentioned them along with the other 44 standing rules that could be used to gum up the works every day for the foreseeable future.

          And there are good reasons to think McConnell is serious.

          I would also argue that the first 100 days metaphor, while by no means a rock solid rule of when things can and can’t get passed, is based on the fact that newly elected presidents only have a mandate to repudiate the former administration for a short period of time before that justification starts to wear thin. If McConnell can merely delay these bills for another 60 days, the chances of them passing will diminish–like Trump’s attempt to repeal ObamaCare entirely.

          And these tactics, the ones McConnell was really talking about, should have been mentioned in the article. It wasn’t a vague threat to retaliate by using the same rule to pass the GOPs legislation in the future. It was a specific threat regarding procedure.

          1. Keep that faith in The System, Ken!
            America’s institutions are totes incorruptible.

            1. To treat them as credible is an effort to make them credible.

              Ken is merely playing the same game the writers here played when they wrote articles examining the minutia of Blasey Ford’s otherwise obvious lies.

              Not that I think McConnell is so much outright lying like she did.

          2. “Why they would want to alienate the Republican most likely to work with them to find common ground is truly a mystery to me.”

            What’s the mystery? They’ve already got one or two others on tap, who have the advantage of being more of a surprise. So they don’t need her.

            Sorry, lady: You held out for two high a price, and lost out to the low bid.

            1. They were planning to pass the $1.9 trillion stimulus as a budget reconciliation bill, and that was why they didn’t need her or any other Republican’s help.

              1. She thinks they’re her pals. When the fact is that she’s trash to them, but occasionally useful.

                1. Hmmm. Useful idiot?

    2. Do you really think the squishies in the GOP will go along with that? Romney, Collins, Murkowski, they’ll jump over the rail in a heartbeat.

      1. You think Collins, Murkowski, or Romney will go over the fence for the Green New Deal, packing the Supreme Court, Medicare for All, or adding two new states?

        1. absolutely. your quorum game is entirely better than relying on those three to play (R) anymore.

        2. Not all 3 at once, but separate issues will pull at least one every time. Medicare for All? Romney. Dude did Obamacare before it was Obamacare. Green Deal? I’d guess Collins or Murkowski, if not both. Maine and Alaska could use those sweet federal dollars.

          1. I don’t think any one of them wants to be THE traitor. For Romney to betray the Republican establishment would mean the end of his ambitions. And the Senate Republicans just held ranks against the $1.9 trillion stimulus. They wouldn’t pass any stimulus before the election, which took some balls amid a recession and the pandemic, and all of zero Republicans voted for the $1.9 trillion stimulus.

            Which issues do you imagine are more partisan–the $1.9 trillion stimulus, on the one hand, or gun control, the Green New Deal, and Medicare for All on the other? My read is that if they were likely to break ranks on something, it would have been over sending checks to unemployed and working swing voters. I think they’re more likely to hold the line on the partisan stuff than they were on the stimulus, and they held the line on the stimulus.

            1. Romney is at the end of his political ambitions.

              1. But does Romney know that yet? He’ll probably be the last to know.

                1. I can’t imagine he’s ignorant to his Usefulness but I’m no politician – those people are different cloth

            2. What political ambitions does Romney have? He already lost the president race once, and fat chance on any Republicans wanting him for VP.

              1. Romney has been the inevitable future of America in his own mind since the day he was born!

        3. If the price is right? Hell yes. They won’t all go for each, but each will go for some.

          1. And keep in mind, they don’t actually have to vote on whatever, they just have to show up to make a quorum, and say, “We voted against it!”

    3. It’s an empty threat unless every single Republican senator successfully goes into hiding somewhere outside D.C. Because each house of Congress has the legal power, when lacking a quorum, to enact a Call of the House, ordering federal marshals to track down the absent members, arrest them, and bring them in.

  7. SCOTUS is loath to meddle in supposedly “internal” issues of or between the “political”, the two other branches of government. I am pretty convinced that an “original meaning” reading of the Constitution does not allow for an extra-constitutional super majority as stipulated by Rule XXII. In my humble layman opinion on legal principles, if a text expressly stipulates exceptions to a rule (“majority decision”), no other exceptions are allowed. There are few provisions named in the Constitution (treaty confirmation, over-riding presidential vetos, removal from office), passing ordinary legislation is not among them.
    Even the argument of protecting the minority’s right to “extensive deliberation” has been proved hollow ever since a mere eMail by an individual senator invoking the filibuster is sufficient to get a hold on a bill without ever having a discussion on the bill, supposedly the reason for using the filibuster in the first place. Haphazardly quoting the Bible, reading cookbook recipes or Dr. Seuss children stories don’t add to a bill’s deliberation, either. That is, extending deliberation almost never is the purpose of invoking Rule XXII, plain obstruction of legislation is.
    An additional irony under the current set-up is that a simple minority is sufficient to confirm nominees for life tenure while for ordinary legislation it is not. Imho, a constitutional amendment to establish a two-third majority to confirm federal judges and justices is called for.

    1. Oops, obviously I meant “a simple MAJORITY is sufficient …”

  8. the so-called nuclear option … is a procedural maneuver … in direct violation of those rules.

    IOW, an insurrection?

    1. Not an insurrection unless a cop kills an unarmed veteran.

    2. While I do not like the idea of killing the filibuster I do recognize that no Senate can be bound by the vote of any prior Senate. In that sense any rule change is a ‘violation’ of existing rules but is also entirely within the plenary power of that legislative body.

      The Senate has heretofore proceeded under the polite fiction that they are somehow ‘different’ but in reality they are not.

  9. Many woke progressives have told me that the Senate is an abomination. Filibuster or not, they crave a much more powerful executive, perhaps something like El Presidente For Life, with a compliant Peoples Congress Theater.

    1. Yes, I’ve been told this too, by several woke types, that the very idea of a Senate is anti-democratic.

      I don’t think many of them passed a civics course ever.

      1. Mark Levin explains this quite well. Yes, the Senate is anti-democratic, and was more so when it was appointed by state legislatures. Being anti-democratic is the job it was designed to do.

    2. They are simply remaining true to the spirit of Woodrow Wilson.

  10. Unclear why the article doesn’t discuss the return to old school talking filibusters, which seem like a perfectly reasonable compromise.

    1. Maybe figure out why they stopped the standing filibuster first.

      1. Because everyone found it a pain in the ass. Those opposing legislation found it a pain because they had to stand and talk for hours, and everyone else found it a pain because no other business could be carried out. So it was seen as a win-win solution simply to let senators threaten to filibuster, and the leadership just to move on to other legislation if they didn’t have the 60 votes that would be needed to invoke cloture if there actually were a standing filibuster.

        1. My understanding is that Schumer can force a talking filibuster whenever he wants by simply refusing to move on the next item and opening the floor for debate. Once no more senators are willing and able to speak the vote can proceed with a simple majority

          I suspect Schumer will do this next summer if he doesn’t have the vote for the nuclear option. Basically he’ll force the GOP to hold up all Senate business and make them look bad before the midterms

          1. I like that solution a lot better, and the Republicans can follow suit when they regain control of the Senate. It’s much healthier than what we have now.

          2. I am not sure stopping the Senate from doing business makes those doing the stopping look bad; some would see it as making them look good.

            1. The key point here is that it would be reported as being bad. Schumer knows he’s got the media in his corner, anything that gets in his way will be made to look bad to enough people.

    2. I wonder this myself because that would force a discussion of the issue. You could have Ted Cruz just read Green Eggs and Ham for the whole time, but the fact that a bill is being filibustered does bring attention. I think part of the problem not is that the filibuster allows bill to be quietly killed. If you oppose a bill you should be able to stand and make you point. I like to see this tried at least.

  11. “Republicans did not retaliate when Democrats used the nuclear option in 2013, and they used it themselves in 2017 and 2019.”

    I understand 2013 was over judicial nominations generally, and if you don’t want to use the term “retaliate” to describe the Republicans filling the courts with a flood of conservatives during the Trump administration, what do you call that? Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the Republicans fill the courts with conservatives using the Democrats’ rules, and isn’t that considered one of Trump’s signature achievements?

    In 2017, the issue, again, was a judicial nomination, this time to the Supreme Court. That might be a big one, but the nuclear option in 2019 appears to have been over cutting the debate time for each of Trump’s sub-cabinet level executive nominees for administration positions from 30 hours to two hours–not a huge deal.

    To suggest that the way things went over rules for judicial nominees and administrative nominees is somehow suggestive of how things will go if the Democrats use the nuclear option to pass the Green New Deal, add two new states, pack the Supreme Court, come after our Second Amendment rights like never before, or impose Medicare for All–is ridiculous.

    It isn’t just about using the nuclear option itself; it’s about what the Democrats are intending to do with it. If you use a gun illegally to do some target shooting in your backyard, you can expect a certain amount of retaliation. If you open fire on a crowd, you should expect another level of retaliation. Whether you fire a gun illegally isn’t the only consideration. It’s how you use it.

    1. This is a good point.

      At least one significant faction of the Democrat Party is pushing for a suite of actions that will result in permanent change to our democracy and what they perceive as a permanent advantage for their side.

      And if they achieve all of it? They may be right. They would have a very good chance of maintaining permanent control over the levers of power… With a packed court, new senators, complete censorship of opponents campaigns, institutionalized transfers of wealth on an unheard-of scale that are guaranteed to create a massive, permanent constituency…… Yeah, this latest attempt to take full control may indeed be the last.

      1. That Reason has not seen fit to even discuss this concern, or HR1 at all pretty much says it is a valid concern.

    2. To Trump supporters the Democrats’ intent is plain as day. The purpose of ending the filibuster will be to enact H.R. 1, which is all about forcing every state to legalize every form of election cheating that was used last year.

      If this happens there will never again be a peaceful transfer or power in D.C., at least unless we re-enable that possibility by enacting one non-peaceful one.

  12. The filibuster gives the current political minority a voice within the system and, thus, a stake in preserving the system. As it is, too many people feel and act like the system isn’t theirs, so it’s no big deal to risk crashing it. Instead of abolishing the filibuster for legislation, it should be restored for nominees, especially for lifelong judicial appointments.

    Perhaps make it harder to use, force members to be present to sustain it, so it’s used only for things the political minority truly can’t abide — but for those things, absolutely preserve it.

  13. Republicans did not retaliate when Democrats used the nuclear option in 2013, and they used it themselves in 2017 and 2019.

    Republicans’ use of the nuclear option in 2017 and 2109 *was* retaliation for the Dems’ use of it.

    The nuclear option is a particularly nasty and dishonest parliamentary maneuver. It involves having the presiding officer (whether the Vice President, the President pro tem of the Senate, or an acting President pro tem) rule (in consultation with the Senate Parliamentarian) that the Rules of the Senate mean what they say, and for the membership of the Senate to overturn that ruling, pretending that the rules mean something else. It enables the Senate to change the rules by a majority vote, even though the rules themselves say they can only be changes by a 2/3 vote.

    If the Dems are willing to do that, then they’re willing to do anything to hold on to power, and to ensure that they never fall from power (lest their weapons be turned on them, as they were on judicial nominations). So no only should we expect abolition of the filibuster and the admission of D.C. and Puerto Rico as states, but packing the Supreme Court with justices who will allow the constitution to be amended to abolish the Senate itself is not outside the realm of possibility.

    1. Packing the supreme Court may not be the immediate danger.

      We have a serious deficit at the federal appellate and trial court level. There are not nearly enough courts to handle the case load as it is. So there is a legitimate reason to expand the federal circuit courts.

      By simply doubling the number of appellate circuits, Democrats could ensure themselves a solid lock on most federal action. Democrat judges have proven themselves to be reliably political. And even with a supreme Court ready to rule the other way, most cases that are of political import would be rendered moot before they reach the supreme Court anyway. And with Roberts and our newest appointee Barrett, that solid majority doesn’t look so solid.

      So they might get away with a real court packing that has permanent consequences without any bad optics from expanding the supreme court.

      1. They wouldn’t need so many courts if so many things weren’t against the law. Reform is what’s needed, not more courts.

        1. Yes, and no. I agree: there are too many damned laws, and way too many areas where the Federal Government has stuck its nose into.

          That said, we haven’t made a new Federal Circuit (the Eleventh) since 1981. The country’s population has grown by 50 percent since then. Court overcrowding and delay is definitely a thing.

          1. The length of time it takes for civil cases to be heard is ridiculous, and it harms people’s ability to seek legitimate redress.

    2. ” even though the rules themselves say they can only be changes by a 2/3 vote.”

      Those rules were established by a vote of the Senate and nothing more. People (including many in the Senate) pretend that this carries lasting effects. But it does not.

      The Constitution is specific.

      Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings…

      With no mention of any sort of requirement for supermajority.

      There is a reason each Congress is given it’s own number. It is because they each represent an independent instance of a legislative body. No prior Congress, by simple vote, can bind the actions of any future Congress. It does not matter if it is legislation or rules. Either can be done or undone by simple majority.

      That each prior Senate has chosen to play by supermajority rules long established is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is also not the required thing.

      The only way sessions of Congress could be so bound would require that such rules be made part of the Constitution.

      1. I believe there is an exception, and it’s one of the rules of parliamentary procedure. It says that a rule written to protect the rights of a minority by requiring a supermajority vote for some purpose cannot be validly rescinded or amended without that same supermajority.

  14. ’22 midterms are going to be awesome.

    1. I predict a shift of 50 seats in the house to the Republicans, and the Dems deciding to just seat their losing candidates anyway.

      1. They’re currently discussing kicking out one of the winning Republicans from 2020 in favor of the losing Democrat, if they go ahead with it, things will get really ugly, really quick.

        If they did it on a mask scale after the 2022 elections, they’ll need permanent quarters in DC and a mind field around the Capitol.

        1. Don’tcha hate it when you see the wrong word in the moment between hitting “submit” and the screen refreshing? Mine field, of course.

          1. true subtle-hilarity.

        2. They’d need a permanent troop presence. But they’ve already got that, even though they haven’t yet announced that it’s permanent. If those troops ever leave DC, the fake president will be out soon after.

  15. Filibuster yes or no; Isn’t a major problem at all…

    Crooks and LIARS are….
    “I do solemnly swear 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.”

    Then the first thing 90% of them do is ignorantly VIOLATE it and utterly ignore it. The U.S. Constitution is “The Peoples” law over their government!!!!! Our government has been ignoring their “Supreme Law” for decades and 1/2 the citizens (according to a fraud-ed ballot box) don’t seem to care… Cheering on the criminals, bank robbers and Gov-Gun toting bullies.

  16. And holding out hope that MANCHIN will vote against the Dems is laughable. He talks big but he always folds.

  17. 1. The Filibuster will hold as long as Manchin and Sinema do.
    2. McConnell is a paper chipmunk.
    3. The Dems learned nothing from killing off the judicial filibuster.

    1. >>Manchin

      dude’s a fucking rock … size of the Chrysler Building … louder than bombs … and then he votes.

      1. He’s the Democrats’ version of Lindsey Graham. Except that both those blusterers always cave in favor of the Democrats.

  18. This is a really weird analysis.

    McConnell didn’t retaliate in 2013 when the Democrats used the nuclear option but he did use the nuclear option later?

    Exactly what are we thinking retaliation looks like? Stamping your feet and screaming when you have no power to do anything about it? Or engaging in tit for tat when the opportunity arises?

    Engaging in the nuclear option for supreme Court nominees was the retaliation.

  19. I really don’t understand what the Democrats are thinking here. I suppose they think that they have sufficient cover from their propaganda machine in the media and with the tech giants that they won’t suffer public backlash.

    But that didn’t help them the last time around. And they ended up with a couple of supreme Court nominees getting confirmed that they could have blocked otherwise.

    The Democrats have their own version of scorched Earth. They keep reaching for everything they can get their hands on, and every time things swing back the other way and they squeal and holler as their sins are revisited upon them.

    You would think that after losing their supermajority in both houses under Obama they would be a little more cautious about wielding powers that have not been used in the past.

    1. They like illiterate voters from third world countries that live 20 to a studio apt. Free stuff for votes. Not sure how long that can last. But then I look at California, New York and…

      1. If Governor Newsom isn’t recalled, we may as well change the name of Los Angeles to New Calcutta and have done.

    2. The only thing they learned after being humiliated under Obama (and then Trump winning) was that they needed to ramp up the lies, cheating, and stealing to ensure they could hold on to power the next time they decided to fuck around and piss off the plebes.

  20. Democrats always act like they will never be the minority party again.
    They used the nuclear option for judges and were told at the time that they would regret it

    Then Trump and McConnell began appointing federal judges by majority vote at lightning speed.
    The Democrats regretted it.
    Now they plan to do the same thing again.
    They will regret it.

    Even with all the cheat by mail, and ballot harvesting, at some point the people will rebel and vote to throw the Dems out.
    Then the Republicans get to simple majority vote all their short term priorities.

    The idea is that the house votes by simple majority to eat all the sheep, while the senate is where the sheep block that idea.

  21. EQUALITY of outcomes: Via perpetual printing and re-distributing. UBI tax credits. Bans. Taxes. Mandates. Rationing.

  22. Of course they will, because they always do stuff like this, consequences be damned. For people who like to clamor on about ‘progress’ as much as they do, they certainly don’t seem very capable of guessing the very predictable outcomes of the policies they promote.

  23. A swing Senator can achieve importance (s)he would otherwise lack. They should all consider being swing Senators.

  24. relying on McConnell is hoping as strategery.

  25. re: “Republicans did not retaliate when Democrats used the nuclear option in 2013, and they used it themselves in 2017 and 2019”

    I’m confused. Using it themselves in 2017 and 2019 sounds exactly like retaliating for the use in 2013. What other retaliation does Wallner think the Republicans could have exercised back in 2013? Retaliation over filibuster abuse will always be delayed until the next time the Senate majority flips.

    And that’s the point that these clowns are missing (but the few adults like Manchin and Sinema seem to remember). The Senate always flips eventually. Never grant yourself a power that you don’t want used against you when the political tides turn.

  26. McConnell and the GOP already used the nuclear option when they denied Obama about 100 federal judges and a U.S. Supreme Court pick. Democrats have nothing to apologize for (except pardoning Bush torture attorneys).

    1. they can start by apologizing for being.

    2. Not bringing Garland up for a vote was not part of the Nuclear Option, it was a matter of simple procedural control.

      Much like the same way McConnell kept the Senate ‘in session’ for four straight years to deny Trump the ability to make recess appointments.

    3. used the nuclear option when they denied Obama… a U.S. Supreme Court pick

      How the hell was that the nuclear option? That was bog standard operating procedure chock full of all kinds of precedent when a party has the votes. The D’s and the R’s had both done that 1000 times before.
      The only thing unprecedented was the media pretending it was unexpected.

    4. The nuclear option for judges was brought to you by Harry Reid and had nothing to do with Garland nomination.

  27. The only reason to nuke the filibuster is you know you will never be in the minority again.
    The only way to know you will never be in the minority again is you already have a good way to cheat on elections that is proven so never lose.
    You figure it out!
    wisconsinspotlight
    March 9th, 2021 | 1:00 am | Updated
    Special Investigation: Infiltrating the election
    Hundreds of pages of emails and other documents obtained by Wisconsin Spotlight show that grant money from private left leaning groups, funded largely by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, resulted in Democrat activists infiltrating the November presidential election in Wisconsin’s five largest cities.

    Here’s what the emails and Wisconsin Spotlight’s investigation found:

    A former Democratic operative, Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein, served as a de facto elections administrator and had access to Green Bay’s absentee ballots days before the election
    Spitzer-Rubenstein asked Green Bay’s clerk if he and his team members could help correct or “cure” absentee ballots like they did in Milwaukee.
    Green Bay’s clerk grew increasingly frustrated with the takeover of her department by the Democrat Mayor’s staff and outside groups.
    Brown County Clerk Sandy Juno said the contract stipulated that Spitzer-Rubenstein would have four of the five keys to the KI Center ballroom where ballots were stored and counted.
    Brown County’s clerk said the city of Green Bay “went rogue.”
    Election law experts said the city illegally gave left-leaning groups authority over the election.

    1. Yes, but muh private company.

  28. I think the Republicans will change the filibuster rule next time they control the House, Senate and POTUS. McConnell defended it during trumps presidency to protect his members from having to take a vote up or down on Trump’s craziest ideas. Plus McConnell wont be majority leader forever.

    The filibuster protects senators of both the majority and the minority from having to vote on actual legislation. They can point in all different directions as to whose fault it is that a matter never came to a vote.

    And I think the filibuster helped lead to Trump’s election. The GOP has been making promises to its voters that they can’t keep due to the filibuster. I think that frustration among GOP voters led to the election of a bull in the china shop outsider.

    The filibuster should go. Even if it means that the party I oppose will be able to use it in the future.

  29. I dunno, Mitch’s lying hypocritical threatening crocodile tears sure seem convincing. Maybe we shouldn’t laugh in his melting face at the absurdity of a man who stole a supreme court seat whining about not having the right to continue to thwart the will of the majority.

  30. It worked so well for democrats when Harry Reid did it for judges they want to try it again.

  31. Every law and regulation should should require a 2/3 or even 3/4 majority to pass. If an idea is so bad that 1/3 of the people don’t support it, then it’s just a lesser case of tyranny of the majority.

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