Judge Strikes Down Constitutional Challenge to the Filibuster

By: Friday December 21, 2012 12:10 pm

If there’s going to be reform to the Senate’s rules, it’s going to have to come from the Senate itself. That’s the implication of a ruling in federal court today throwing out a Constitutional challenge to the filibuster. Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that the plaintiffs in the case, who claimed that the Senate used an [...]

Court Hears Arguments on Constitutionality of the Filibuster

By: Tuesday December 11, 2012 11:37 am

While Senators work out a potential compromise on the filibuster, one which would in all likelihood keep the option of a supermajority requirement for legislation and confirmations intact while constraining it somewhat, a group of House Democrats have gone to federal court to challenge the filibuster as an unconstitutional procedure: A federal judge began hearing [...]

Senators Getting Cold Feet on Changing Rules By Majority Vote

By: Monday December 10, 2012 1:52 pm

The one reason that a set of filibuster reforms that fall short of eliminating the 60-vote Senate may still allow for majoritarian democracy in that body is that it would set the precedent that the Senate can determine its rules with a majority vote rather than a 2/3 vote. The minority still obstructing consistently would [...]

Boehner Threatens No Votes on Senate Bills if Democrats Push Through Filibuster Reform

By: Friday November 30, 2012 7:45 am

John Boehner, who is not now nor has ever been a Senator, has nonetheless decided to insert himself into the debate over Senate rules reform. Boehner threatened to ignore all bills coming from the Senate passed with the help of a reformed filibuster, which is really all bills, since ending the filibuster on the motion [...]

White House Supports Filibuster Reform Effort

By: Wednesday November 28, 2012 10:47 am

President Obama supports the Senate rules reform effort, effectively giving a vote to reformers as they build toward a January showdown. In a statement to the Huffington Post, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer responded positively to the effort, now led by Majority Leader Harry Reid, to reform the process in the Senate. “The President [...]

Filibuster Reform Definitely Coming, But May Not Be Enough

By: Tuesday November 27, 2012 7:02 am

It definitely looks as though we’re headed toward a shift in the Senate rules, though mainly one that facilitates the scheduling of the Senate calendar rather than actually turns the Senate into a majoritarian institution. An exchange between the two leaders on the Senate floor yesterday previewed the expected rule changes: On the Senate floor [...]

White House Makes Politically Expedient End Run By “Designating” Elisse Walter SEC Chair

By: Monday November 26, 2012 10:49 am

The White House, in announcing the departure of Mary Schapiro as Chairwoman of the SEC, also took the unusual step of “designating” her replacement – a way to fill the vacancy at the top of the commission without confirmation in the Senate. Elisse Walter, a current commissioner, will replace Schapiro. Here’s the announcement: President Obama [...]

Filibuster Reform Support Still Short of a Majority in the Senate

By: Tuesday November 13, 2012 3:14 pm

With the expectation of a series of new cabinet appointments (though not Attorney General, apparently) comes the expectation of a number of bruising nomination fights on the floor of the Senate. In particular, Senate Republicans seem to want to collect a scalp if UN Ambassador Susan Rice gets nominated to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary [...]

Reid’s Senate Agenda: Filibuster Reform and Immigration Reform

By: Wednesday November 7, 2012 11:52 am

I’m getting two things out of Harry Reid’s post-election press conference. One, there will absolutely be changes to the filibuster in the next Congress. They may not be maximal changes, but I would get that the bulk of the Udall-Merkley reform program will get instituted. In his first post-election press conference, the Nevada Democrat said [...]

Reid Urges End to Obstruction, But Only Reforming the Filibuster Will Do It

By: Wednesday November 7, 2012 9:15 am

Jon Tester has been called the winner of the Senate election in Montana. This leaves the North Dakota race as the only one uncalled, and there, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp leads by 3,000 votes with all ballots counted. So the likely outcome is a Heitkamp win, and a 55-45 majority for Democrats (putting independents Angus King [...]

When Gridlock Works: Cybersecurity Bill Stuffed, for Now

By: Thursday August 2, 2012 11:06 am

The Senate, unable to come up with a schedule for amendments, blocked the cybersecurity bill today in an outcome that, despite being a result of Republican obstruction, satisfied Internet activists who had been urging a no vote. You can see from the roll call that this was generally a partisan vote. The backstory is that [...]

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