I have previously noted the curious positions of some senators who want to preserve the filibuster but only if it is not used to block legislation that they are demanding. For example, Sen. Angus King (I., Maine) has declared that he supports the filibuster but would kill it if it is used to block the federalization of elections. The point of a filibuster is that forces compromise on divisive issues. However, the relativistic position on the filibuster continued today with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.). The senator previously called for the preservation of the filibuster but now wants it killed after the Supreme Court last week declined to block a Texas abortion law.
I will not repeat my prior columns addressing misleading analysis on the Supreme Court order which neither upheld the Texas law nor overturned Roe v. Wade. However, the order has been used by Democrats to repeat demands for an array of radical reforms from packing the Court to killing the filibuster.
Sen. Klobuchar has responded by adding her own voice to the call for ending the filibuster. On Sunday, the Senator told CNN:
“So, my solution to this, which is my solution for voting rights and so many other things, including climate change, where one side of the country is in flames, the other side of the country is flooded, with people dying submerged in their cars, I believe we should abolish the filibuster. We just will get nowhere if we keep this filibuster in place.”
However, in 2013, Klobuchar was lamenting that the rule had ever been curtailed and said that she wished that the rule could be returned in full force. The reason? Brett Kavanaugh.
The move by Democrats to use the “nuclear option” led to the eventual removal of the rule for not just lower judges, but Supreme Court justices. That meant it could not be used to block Kavanaugh so Klobuchar argued it would be good to resume for future such cases. In 2013, she went on a different Sunday show to declare: “I would’ve liked to see 60 votes, no matter what the judge is. I don’t think we should’ve made that change, when we look back at it. But it happened because we were so frustrated, because President Obama wasn’t able to get his nominees.”
She then expressed a preference to bring back the full rule without exceptions. In fairness to Klobuchar, she admitted that the damage was unlikely to be reversed and was supportive of the eventual compromise. However, we now have senators saying that they could support a filibuster rule so long as it is not used on climate change, infrastructure, voting rights, abortion, or other deeply divisive issues.
The point remains the same. Filibusters go back to ancient Rome as a device to force compromise. However, the point is not to create exceptions or to limit its use to block legislation of other members. As noted earlier, the rule has been used for different purposes, including, most infamously, to oppose 1950s civil rights legislation. Over the years, it has been modified, as in 1975 when the threshold to end a filibuster was reduced to 60 votes. However, both parties agreed that the rule was needed to force greater consensus in the Senate, which fashions itself “The world’s greatest deliberative body.”
There are good-faith arguments that filibusters frustrate democratic voting. However, this is arguably a time when the value of the rule is most evident and most compelling as a compromise-forcing legislative device. The Senate is split 50-50, a reflection of the country’s division. (The House is little better off, with a majority of just a handful of votes, the smallest majority since World War II.) That leaves Democrats struggling to pass bills based on the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Harris.
While politicians are notoriously for relativistic on such issues, the whole point of the filibuster is to maintain a consistent rule regardless of the subject matter of legislative action. Instead, members of Congress are arguing that they support the rule so long as it was not used to frustrate their own agenda.
The abortion issue remains deeply divisive in this country. Moreover, the public remains overwhelmingly opposed to court packing. If anything, these divisive times would favor rules designed to force compromise . . . without exception.
43 thoughts on “Klobuchar Calls For The Killing of Filibuster Despite a Call for its Full Restoration During The Kavanaugh Confirmation”
I don’t like the filibuster. Never have. It’s anti-democratic and a roadblock erected by the Senate. But any tool to stop the treasonous, incompetent Dims from accelerating our demise seems fine to me. Like Golda Meir famously said, “I’d deal with the Devil himself to defend my country.” L’chaim!
You labor under the misconception that America is now, or ever has been, a democracy. We are a republic, with elected representatives, who are supposed to do our bidding for us. When they fail to do that, the idea is that we elect someone else who will follow our will.
By doing away with the filibuster, it not only comes much closer to a democracy, but it also makes the states in the minority such as it is at this time, to be irrelevant. By at least requiring a vote of 60 to bypass the filibuster, the need for consensus building comes into play and the requirement to make a case for your desire for laws or spending becomes greater. The continuing resolution to pass huge budget bills that the Democrats are planning on doing will be totally on their necks, and they will pay in the end, no doubt. If only the Republicans are not too stupid to take it and run with it, come 2022. Due to the blunders by Joe Biden in both foreign policy and things domestically, the Republicans have the chance of taking back control of both houses come the next election. The only thing standing in their way is themselves. They showed just how incompetent they are for the past 5 years, so it might be a tossup.
“The point of a filibuster is that forces compromise on divisive issues.”
Turley, you ignorant slut, it does no such thing as is evident from the last 2 years of Bush and the Obama presidency when all previous records for filibusters were broken by the GOP minority attempting to stonewall legislation. No compromises were enacted. Of course a return to actually having to hold the floor would help limit these kinds of abuses, but being GOP stooge, we know you won’t even mention that, let along support it.
By the way, the 50-50 Senate alignment does not reflect the division in the country as you claim, as GOP senators represent approx. 20 million less voters than Democratic senators and haven’t represented a majority – just barely – since 1996.
The Dims weakened the filibuster not the GOP but used it nonetheless. And who cares about the numbers of constituents a Senator represents? It’s a body of equals, you “ignorant slut.”
Abort the filibuster when deemed a “burden”.
As I’ve said multiple times in response to your posts, Turley…, I believe your plan to expand the court that you put forth is a worthwhile solution to the court packing done by Mitch McConnell and Republicans. I know you put forth your proposal when Dems had more control, but the plan is still a worthwhile solution to what has become an unsustainable political climate that, literally, doesn’t have the time to finger pop its butthole on issues such as voting rights, abortion and climate change. Filibusters are designed to wallow to a degree, we are not now currently in a situation that will be resolved by wallowing.
Filibusters are probably best at navigating dialectical choices. Thesis + antithesis = synthesis. Of course that philosophical approach is only as good as its thesis’ and antithesis’. The reality is, there are many bad thesis propositions floating around today, witness the Texas abortion disaster. What good can come from a law that should be met by massive spamming of the ‘narc out’ line as a logical response to an absurd plan???
But think of the political climate now. Mitch McConnell has dedicated his career to packing courts with Republican judges and has been pretty wildly successful at it (by any means necessary). Ostensibly we have a two party system still, but really, it’s no longer a two party system. I’d break it down like this: we have a Democratic party with a growing tension between progressives and moderates. We have a Republican party who I would maintain consists of 4 or 5 people (no matter with which party they caucus with). I’d call the Republican party Joe Manchin, Krysten Sinema, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney and a point five memeber>> Susan Collins. And we have the Obstructionist party of Mitch McConnell…
That to me basically equals a four party system. Thing about 4 party systems is they often become convinced revolution is their answer and it never works out well. Witness Columbia a couple of decades back. Cuba in the 50’s. The U.S. during the Revolution. Afghanistan and Iraq after U.S. invasion. And a good number of others. Common denominators? Four solid entities fought over the crumbs of political power. Remedy? Have a functional way to make quick and solid political decisions and move through the overwhelm and chaos. The Trump presidency was a final straw in taking this country into overwhelm and chaos, no time to finger pop buttholes before getting out. Full stop.
What you call “court packing” is a political issue, If you wish to remedy it – do so by figuring out how to appoint the justices you prefer in the future.
There is no functional problem with the current court structure – and Contra Turley expanding SCOTUS would likely make problems worse not better.
If you want a legislative action that would address a real problem – I would suggest creating a US Superior court – Inferior to the Supreme Court, but above all other district an appellate courts. this court could be as large as you want it. Its function is to preserve the supreme court for its actual purpose – being the final arbiter of the constitution.
This would get rid of many of the inconsequential cases that the court hears – such as the current TX appeal.
That was correctly dismissed on procedural grounds. It will inevitably be back with either a facial or as applied constitutional challenge and the TX law will likely fail – it should fail even ignoring the abortion issue entirely.
I would love a ruling that made it clear that it is unconstitutional for the government to pass laws it will not enforce, and that it is unconstitutional for executives – state and federal to refuse to enforce laws that were legitimately passed.
We will likely see the former, unfortunately will will not see the latter.
“ If you want a legislative action that would address a real problem – I would suggest creating a US Superior court – Inferior to the Supreme Court, but above all other district an appellate courts. this court could be as large as you want it.”
So in essence you are suggesting another level of bureaucracy.
Expanding SCOTUS makes sense. It would blunt the need to seek either more or less justices that lean either conservative or liberal if they change the lifetime appointments to term limited appointments. It would allow for fresh perspectives in line with the changing culture.
The court had the ability to stay the law due to it’s obvious unconstitutionality. The farce that it was decided on a technicality because the very unconstitutional premise that state officials were not required to enforce it. This law will be in effect for months before the court hears the upcoming case. It will be more likely that a case using the law will be challenged long before that happens.
Elvis insect ; The supreme court process of appointment to it has always been political…unavoidable. At times in our history when it was decidedly one sided politically and then could not take it anymore when FDR proposed packing the court via expansion. It was DOA than and is now.
The Filibuster is a very reasonable and necessary tool in our republic. It is a great measure in the system of checks and balances to prevent tyranny of the majority. Without it we would decline to a one party state…and thus the end of the great experiment.
The filibuster is the end of the great experiment and that probably explains why the original Constitution didn’t include one.
A few points about the filibuster and the Senate:
The Senate was never intended to be a democratic institution. Our nation’s founders equated democracy with a raging mob, and they realized the problem with a raging mob is that they don’t respect the those who disagree. The idea behind the filibuster was to force people in the decision-making process to actually think about the consequences of their decisions and their votes.
One of the hallmarks to the success of the United States for over 200 years was consistency of the law. While not all laws have remained unchanged, it’s the general consistency that has allowed our nation to be successful. Yet when we force major law changes, we are almost always making government to be more intrusive in all our lives. This was the opposite of what was intended by our nation’s founders.
Regarding our nation’s founders: Supposedly, it is now correct to label them as racists, because some of them owned slaves. Well, guess what? Slavery didn’t originate in this country! It was another bad idea imported from overseas nations.
Is she going to kill it with her comb too?
Amy Klobuchar is a soulless shape shifting slug. She is even more craven and inconsistent than Hillary Clinton and that is a big lift.
The fact that a politician has no principles is hardly newsworthy.
The filibuster has proven a good rule to force compromise, or at least stop one party from steamrolling their agenda. When will either party do what is the very best for the citizens of this nation?
When the government gets involved in things they are often worse than when they started. I think it was a politician in a Bullwinkle cartoon that declared, “We’ve got to get the government out of government.”
I write my senators and representative and if they bother to answer, it is usually a form letter. I will keep trying. Those within the Washington bubble seem to have lost their collective minds.
Its not a filibuster
Its cloture (also not in the constitution. It is a Senate Rule the requires 60 votes to close debate, and move the bill on to a simple majority floor vote.
Might sound pedantic, but It is important to understand the blocking method.
I’m especially amazed at Democrats wanting to carve out “election” law. It they would do that, 16 months from now, the same carve out would be used by Republicans to return to States The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof
Ending the filibuster would be a clearly authoritarian/fascist/totalitarian move.
The Philly Buster is in the mindset.
Sen. Klobuchar is a cynical hack.
People who know her are even less complimentary than I am.
Unfortunately, her character flaws are very common in Washington.
Unfortunately, you are correct. Ethical politicians would be an oxymoron.
Isn’t she the one who throws staplers at he employees when she isn’t pleased?
Typo: Meant to say: Isn’t she the one who throws staplers at HER employees when she isn’t pleased?
Agreed. If you go to a thesaurus, another word for politician is hypocrite, regardless of party affiliation.
Everything they do will be used by Republicans next time. So, they never learn. That’s how dumb and desperate they are to destroy America. Bring it!
wait until the R’s get 50+ in the Senate and a R president. The conservative ecosphere will have a blast re-playing all these videos as the D’s defend the filibuster as if it were divinely created. They should fake an attempt to “nuke” it just to watch these hypocrites go ballistic. Pass the popcorn!
The Philly buster came about when the U.S. Capitol moved from Philly to DC.
There is a motivator today called Buster Cherry.
Dear Professor, the Filibuster is being used by Republicans not to work out a compromise but to block legislation that Americans support. I’m pretty sure you know that. The filibuster used to force someone to stand up and talk to hold up a vote but now all they say is filibuster and that’s it legislation blocked. It needs to go.
By the way, the filibuster is NOT IN THE CONSTITUTION.
Neither are most of Joe Biden’s EOs but go on…
DEAR “JUSTICE HOLMES”. THE FILIBUSTER HAS BEEN USED, BOTH SUCCESSFULLY AND UNSUCCESSFULLY FOR QUITE A LONG TIME BY ALL POLITICAL PARTIES, NOT JUST REPUBLICANS AND NOT TO ‘BLOCK LEGISLATION THAT AMERICANS SUPPORT”. FROM MY PERSPECTIVE A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS DO NOT SUPPORT LEGISLATION PROPOSED BY THE FAR LEFT NOR WILL THEY EVER.
BECAUSE ONE POLITICAL PARTY HAS A VERY SLIM MAJORITY IN THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DOES NOT MEAN “THE MAJORITY F AMERICANS SUPPORT WHAT THEY ARE PROPOSING. IF ONE HAS A MORE CONSERVATIVE OPINION OF POLITICS, AS I DO, THEN BOTH PARTIES SHOULD TRY TO REACH A COMPROMISE BUT THE FILIBUSTER WILL ALWAYS REMAIN INTACT.
The filibuster is a procedural process and the only time the democrats want to kill it is whey they have the majority, strange, huh? As for Americans supporting legislation that the democrats want to pass, that may or may not be true. The media wants and congress wants to federalize elections, but most of Americans wants congress and the feds to stay away from elections. If the GOP retakes the senate and the house wonder how the democrats will feel about the filibuster.
Justice Holmes, you should read Article I of the Constitution carefully; each house of our Congress is allowed to establish its own rules and procedures. Therefore, the filibuster conforms to the Constitution.
Justice Holmes was for the filibuster before he was against it. Hey Holmes, at least try to not be so obviously in the tank. This is about as moronic as watching Ed Markey saying we need to add FOUR Justices to the Court. Odd that he picks the number FOUR, the exact amount needed to have a majority. The moronic Democrats never learn, just ask Harry Reid. The Democrats think it is impossible for them to add FOUR seats now and then lose the Senate in 2022 giving Republicans the chance to add FIVE more seats.
But remember that guys like Justice Holmes say that Trump broke norms!!!
It’s amazing that so many here don’t seem to understand that people can change their minds. Senator Klobuchar may have been against getting rid of the filibuster, until Texas passed a clearly unconstitutional law and the Supreme Court chose not to do anything about it.
Just like the Senator justice Holmes can change his mind. The filibuster itself is a remnant of a means to keep racism in the congressional processes. It’s not in the constitution and certainly not necessary. It’s been abused by republicans for far too long and it needs to go. If it’s supposed to encourage compromise it certainly didn’t seem like republicans wanted it when they got rid of the filibuster in the house so they could pass Supreme Court nominations with ease.
Getting rid of the filibuster would allow congress to bypass the court and legislate a solution. Democrats being in the majority as any party should would be within their right to create legislation to prohibit such laws as Texas or even outright legalize abortion nationwide.
It’s amazing that the Democrats crying about the filibuster now, used it 327 times to the 1 time the Republicans used it….Hypocrites.
Point of reference, the Supreme Court’s ruling dealt with who had legal standing to bring the lawsuit, not the constitutionality of the law.
it certainly didn’t seem like republicans wanted it when they got rid of the filibuster in the house so they could pass Supreme Court nominations with ease.
🤔 Hmm. Since when does the House vote on SC nominations?
The Filibuster was used to oppose Civil Rights legislation – by DEMOCRATS. It was also used by democrats to oppose myriads of other things in the past.
The constitution specifies that the house and senate can make their own rules. Cloture is one of those rules in the Senate.
The Senate can change its rules by simple majority vote – and senate democrats have done so several times over the past decade – narrowing the use of Cloture every time. Ultimately each of these has eventually worked to the harm of democrats.
Likely the primary reason that Democrats are not going to get rid of Cloture is because of how badly that has worked for them in the Past.
The Senate currently is on a razors edge. There are currently 27 states with Republican Governors, and 23 with Democrats.
There are inarguably more red states than blue states. Over the long run the Senate is likely to be controlled by Republicans for a long time. Republicans are defending more senate seats in 2022 than democrats, But 2022 is highly unlikely to be a blue year. There are several seats that were very close in 2020 that are up again in 2022 – AZ and GA – if democrats lose either, and do not pick up somewhere else – they lose the senate. in NH Gov. Sununu is very popular and is running for Democrat Hassan’s Senate Seat in 2022, and is currently leading by 5 pts.
If Democrats eliminate Cloture now – it will be gone forever – no one will bring it back. That is actually a very big deal.
It will make it much easier for republicans to repeal democratic legislation in the future.
Regardless, this is a stupid fight – democrats have the power to eliminate cloture if they want.
If you really beleive that is a good idea – go for it. No one is stoping you but yourselves.
You might want to think about that – maybe it is not such a good idea.
“ The Filibuster was used to oppose Civil Rights legislation – by DEMOCRATS. It was also used by democrats to oppose myriads of other things in the past.”
In the past democrats were the conservatives of today. Obviously today’s democrats are not the same democrats of the past. In fact the democrats of the past are now the republicans of the present. Racist legislators who were democrats in the past, especially those from the south did use the filibuster to stymie civil rights legislation. Today those same folks who held such views are now the republicans of the south. The racist beliefs never changed, just the party affiliation.
An easy test would be to point out any civil rights legislation being pushed by republicans today. How many civil rights legislation have they put forth?
Methinks you’re believing the wrong polls. It’s not question 1. The real answer is 1A (not would you support, but would you raise taxes, et.al, to accomplish that). I learned that doing some student polls 40 years ago
Remember when Trump urged Mitch to end the filibuster? Remember when he refused? If Schumer et al can’t match McConnell for consistency and principle, they don’t deserve to wield power
There is no requirement for compromise. Compromise is a value not a principle.
Whether a compromise is moral or immoral depends on the specifics.
Democrats did not compromise with republicans on anything while Trump was president – legislation with far greater public support than anything Democrats have pushed.
AGAIN – they are not required to do so.
The Filibuster IS in the constitution. The constitution allows the house and senate to set their own rules however they please and that is what they do. The Filibuster – or more accurately cloture, is a Senate rule.
The past Filibusters that you reference were typically done by an individual or a small number of senators.
Cloture was a new rule put in place to restrain filibusters – Cloture allows that 60 senators can end debate – can STOP a filibuster.
If you can not get 60 votes to end debate – it is not worth the trouble to move forward – even a couple of Senators working together could tie up the senate floor for days – weeks, stopping not only the specific bill, but ALL Senate actions for as long as the filibuster continued.
We do not have standing filibusters today because the majority party – in this case Democrats chooses not to go forward if they can not get a vote for Cloture.
Senate Democrats are free to change the Senate Rules whenever they wish by a simple majority vote, they can eliminate the requirement for Cloture unilaterally if they want. Democrats have narrowed the use of Cloture over the past decade and every instance has backfired against them.
“ The Filibuster IS in the constitution.”
No it’s not. The ability of the senate and congress to set their own rules is not a filibuster.
You are literally saying the filibuster “IS” in the constitution. If that’s true where is the word “filibuster” in the constitution?
“ Senate Democrats are free to change the Senate Rules whenever they wish by a simple majority vote, they can eliminate the requirement for Cloture unilaterally if they want.”
That’s partially true. However democrats cannot eliminate the filibuster due to a few conservative democrats refusing to do so and the very fact that it’s an evenly split senate. They don’t have a “simple majority”. It’s misleading to state that they have the ability to change the rules when it requires that all of them agree to change them.
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