ILNews

Senate votes to change filibuster rule

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The U.S. Senate has voted to change how many votes are required to break a filibuster to approve executive and judicial nominees, reducing the threshold to the simple majority of 51. The change came about after several nominees were blocked by Republicans.

Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday regarding the changes to the Senate rules, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., commented about hours and days wasted between filibusters.

“In the history of the Republic, there have been 168 filibusters of executive and judicial nominations,” he said. “Half of them have occurred during the Obama Administration – during the last four-and-a-half years. These nominees deserve at least an up-or-down vote.”

He referenced the filibusters by Republicans of nominees for secretary of defense, the consumer financial protection bureau chief, and D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. He said 23 District Court nominees have been filibustered in the history of the U.S.; 20 of them nominated by President Barack Obama.

“With one out of every 10 federal judgeships vacant, millions of Americans who rely on courts that are overworked and understaffed are being denied the justice they rightly deserve,” he said.

Sen. Dan Coats, R-Indiana, said that Senate Democrats and supporters of “Obamacare” used the vote as a distraction to avoid talking about “the damaging impacts of the deeply flawed health care law” on Americans.

“This action to change the Senate rules and weaken the Founding Fathers’ vision for checks and balances is yet another disturbing power grab and reminds the public of how the Democrats jammed through the unwanted health care law,” he said in a statement.

The rule change does not apply to filibusters of Supreme Court nominees and legislation. Those will still require 60 votes.

David Orentlicher, professor at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, said the Senate Democrats have wrongly tampered with an important protection for Senate minority rights with the filibuster “reform.”

The filibuster rule change “provides another example of Congress undermining the Constitution’s basic framework,” he said. “Senate Democrats have made it easier for presidents to have their way with Congress, and that has things backwards. The framers created a system of separated powers so that each branch would check and balance the other branches.”
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  2. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  3. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  4. I totally agree with John Smith.

  5. An idea that would harm the public good which is protected by licensing. Might as well abolish doctor and health care professions licensing too. Ridiculous. Unrealistic. Would open the floodgates of mischief and abuse. Even veteranarians are licensed. How has deregulation served the public good in banking, for example? Enough ideology already!

ADVERTISEMENT