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 [...]

Republicans Gear Up for Susan Rice Nomination Fight, Which Could Be Stopped By Ending the Filibuster

By: Wednesday November 28, 2012 7:00 am

Apparently the meetings between potential Secretary of State nominee Susan Rice and cranky old warhawks didn’t go very well. “Bottom line, I’m more disturbed now than I was before,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the critics, said after the meeting. The Republican senators have repeatedly said they are concerned with how Rice explained what [...]

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 Defends Vow to Change Filibuster Rules Next Year

By: Wednesday July 18, 2012 8:15 am

Here’s a fairly remarkable colloquy between Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor. McConnell was perturbed by the suggestion that Reid would pursue filibuster reform if he was still in charge of the Senate in January 2013. This is the key set of statements from Reid on the Ed Schultz Show: REID: The [...]

Jeff Merkley on Senate Reform: “There’s a problem that has to be addressed”

By: Tuesday May 15, 2012 10:21 am

Sen. Jeff Merkley had an early warning that Harry Reid’s change of heart on filibuster reform was coming. “I was the presiding officer of the Senate several weeks ago,” Merkley told me in an interview. “Sen. Reid came to close, we were the only ones in the chamber. At that point he made the comment, [...]

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