Where in the Constitution Is Filibuster Made Legal

The passage of Rule XXII in 1917 led to modern obstruction, which was also used to block civil rights laws, especially in the Jim Crow era. In fact, it was one of the main uses of obstruction in the 20th century. According to a study by political scientists Sarah Binder and Steven Smith, of the 30 measures derailed by obstruction between 1917 and 1994, exactly half were civil rights. Filibusters blocked measures such as the anti-lynching laws proposed in 1922 and 1935; the Civil Rights Act of 1957; and laws that would have prohibited capitation taxes and prohibited discrimination in employment, housing and elections. Filibusters traditionally included lengthy speeches in which a senator tried to block a vote by refusing to speak. To stage such a meaningful filibuster, one senator kept his word by standing up and speaking as long as possible, sometimes during the night. This was popularized in the 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond`s longest ever obstruction of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 lasted more than 24 hours. Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski is known for his ability to trap the work of parliamentary committees through filibuster.

[26] [27] One such example occurred on October 26, 2006, when he spoke for almost 120 minutes to prevent the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development from considering a private member`s bill on the implementation of the Kyoto accord. [28] [29] [30] He also spoke on February 5, 2008 and February 7, 2008. In February 2008, he spent approximately 6 hours at meetings of the Standing Committee on Standing Rules and House Affairs to block the investigation into allegations that the Conservative Party exceeded the maximum limits allowed during the 2006 election campaign. [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] The issues arose in March 2021 when the For the People Act – a comprehensive democratic reform bill – was passed by the House of Representatives and introduced in the Senate, where the filibuster could determine its fate. Whether through abolition or reform, obstruction cannot impede the expansion of American democracy or the rights of all eligible voters. Speech is not necessary to obstruct. If the 100 members of the Senate face a closing vote to end debate, if 41 or more senators choose to vote no, they can refuse the required 60 votes. There are a few exceptions, such as the budget vote (now an oft-abused loophole), a process that allows legislation on budget matters to pursue time-limited debates without the possibility of obstruction — the process Republicans used in 2017 to pass a tax cut against the Democratic opposition. A more complicated, but likely, way to prohibit filibustering would be to set a new precedent in the Senate. The Commission`s precedents exist alongside its formal rules to provide additional insight into how and when its rules have been applied in certain ways. It is important to note that this approach to containing the filibuster – colloquially referred to as the “nuclear option” and more formally known as “reform by judgment” – can only be applied in certain circumstances with the support of a simple majority of senators.

But the obstruction could still survive unified party control. Honourable senators often talk about their support in principle for obstruction. But senators` views on rules are more often shaped by their views on politics. There would probably have to be a specific measure that the senators of the majority parties agreed to and cared enough about to make the obstruction ban worthwhile. Obama`s call to end filibustering to pass election laws, as well as Republicans` inaction on additional legislation to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, offer potential candidates for such legislation. But, as Republicans` experience during the first two years of the Trump administration suggests, such proposals may be easier to imagine than to realize. Cato again used systematic obstruction in 59 BC. AD in response to an agrarian reform law sponsored by Caesar, the consul at the time. [4] When Cato was to speak during the debate, he began one of his characteristic long speeches. Caesar, who was to pass the law before his co-consul Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus took possession of the Fasces at the end of the month, immediately recognized Cato`s intention and ordered the lictors to imprison him for the rest of the day. This decision was unpopular with many senators and Caesar, realizing his mistake, soon ordered Cato`s release. The day was lost without the Senate ever being able to vote on a motion to support the bill, but Caesar eventually bypassed Cato`s opposition by taking the measure to the tribal convention, where it passed.

These kinds of delaying tactics are not really new. One of the earliest recorded masters of obstruction was the ancient Roman politician Cato the Younger. In the Senate of Rome, Cato spoke until sunset, which was the official end of a session of the Senate. One of his last obstructions was to oppose Julius Caesar`s return to Rome in 60 BC. Caesar found a political way around Cato`s obstruction and was always able to take power in Rome. Pro-democracy lawmakers paused during a debate over financing the construction of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong express rail link, raising many questions on very minor issues and delaying the passage of the law from December 18, 2009 to January 16, 2010. [76] The Legislative Council building was surrounded by thousands of anti-high-speed protesters during sessions. The house was scheduled to take a break for the summer on Thursday, June 23, but it remained open for an extended session due to the obstruction. The 103 NDP lawmakers took turns delivering 20-minute speeches – plus 10 minutes of questions and comments – to delay the passage of the bill.

MPs are allowed to make such speeches whenever a vote takes place, and many votes were needed before the law could be passed. Since the Conservative Party of Canada had a majority in the House of Representatives, the bill passed. [22] [23] This is the longest parliamentary filibuster since the Reform Party of Canada`s parliamentary filibuster in 1999. [24] [25] In the Philippine Senate, Roseller Lim of the Nationalist Party held the longest filibuster in the history of the Philippine Senate. [ref. needed] In April 1963, he stood on the podium for more than 18 hours during the election for the presidency of the Senate of the Philippines, waiting for his party colleague Alejandro Almendras, who was to arrive from the United States. The nationalists, who represented exactly half of the Senate, wanted to prevent the election of Ferdinand Marcos as President of the Senate. Since he was not even allowed to enter the comfort room, he had to relax in his pants until Almendras arrived. He voted for his party colleague Eulogio Rodriguez when Almendras arrived, and had to be carried out of the meeting room on an exhaustion stretcher. Almendras, however, voted for Marcos, who wrested the Senate presidency from the nationalists after more than a decade of control.

[ref. needed] Last month, Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine wrote that the obstruction “evolved from a strange historical glitch.” This “is largely a historic accident,” New York Times columnist David Leonhardt wrote in February. He was referring to a theory often cited by political scientist Sarah Binder, who traced its origin to Vice President Aaron Burr`s 1805 recommendation to “get rid of the previous question request” in his words as part of his attempt to streamline the rules of the Senate.