Just as simple Democratic Party Senate majorities can change their body’s rules at will, regardless of rules that have existed for over 50 years that require super majorities, simple We the People majorities can also change which senators rule.
But first things first. The United States Senate gets to make its own rules, period:
“Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.” – Article I, Section 5, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution.
Given that explicit grant of power from the U.S. Constitution, the “political question” doctrine of the United States Supreme Court ensures that it would never overturn a Senate rules change agreed to by a simple majority vote of the members. Therefore, any claim that the filibuster rules change proposed by the Democrats is unconstitutional, is without merit.
End of filibuster would be best for conservatives
Most Americans are conservative and the Senate rules have essentially allowed a liberal political minority, perpetual rule over much of our lives for decades, without much accountability. There has been a disconnect most of my life between the principles and desires of large majorities of We the People and the laws passed by their representatives in Congress. So stark has been the disconnect, that for long periods the majority has been referred to as the “silent majority.”
One way the majority has been kept silent has been via the liberal use of the filibuster by liberals, who now constitute but 20% of Americans and never more than 30%.
The filibuster is not a part of the original design of the Senate by the Founders and so there should be no nostalgic desire that it be kept as part of the rules.
To give one stark example of how America would be much better off today if the filibuster had not existed is that areas for oil exploration would long ago have been greatly expanded to ANWR and offshore from the Lower Forty-Eight. We would have much more supply of domestic oil, the price would be cheaper, more Americans would have good paying jobs and the USA would be more secure from being held hostage by radical Muslims.
Since 1978 Democrats as President, Congressional majorities and/or as Senate filibuster minorities have kept Americans at bay in the development of our own oil resources. No enemy of the United States has done, nor could have dreamed to have done, more economic and national security damage to the US than the Democrats have been able to do, thanks mainly to the filibuster.
Conservatives should welcome an end to this Senate Rule and vote for said end.
However, I do agree with those who cite the Democrats for venality for violating the Senate’s own rules as a continuing body requiring a 2/3 vote for rules changes, but have always thought the concept of same was tenuous at best and that the better practice would be to be able to make rules changes at the first of each new Congress via simply majority.
My wish would be that enough Republicans would vote for an end to the filibuster rule to meet the 2/3 rule requirement. But if not, I still hope that filibusters are outlawed for the good of America’s future. We have a Bill of Rights to protect minorities and we have separation of powers and all kinds of saucer-coolers, if that is what we need to prevent rabid and destructive pure democracy.
But on most matters, it is best that majorities actually make the laws in a republican form of government. Lets be about that business.
An aside on constitutionality of judicial filibusters
As an aside as pertains the filibuster as applied to judicial nominations, in addition to legislation, the Constitution affords no distinction despite the citing of Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 by some Republicans and others that once threatened a “constitutional option” when Democrats sought to filibuster Justice Samuel Alito when he was nominated:
He [The President of the United States] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
Some opponents claim that any change in the rules that would allow a minority of Senators to defeat a President’s nominee to the Supreme Court would be unconstitutional via implication since the above requires a two thirds vote for the ratification of treaties. Such stretches in logic would thrill the liberal activist’s mind intent upon stretching the equal protection clause further around our necks.
The better interpretation is that the framers simply made clear that Senate rules could not allow for less than two thirds vote on treaties to secure ratification, with the Senate free to make rules with respect to judges and other matters as it wishes. One might even say that a Senate’s “advice” on judicial nominees might be to not even act upon it and in fact, those that argue against judicial filibusters lose their credibility when they don’t demand votes on all nominees regardless of committee action.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
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