Should the Republicans instigate the "Nuclear Option" on Filibusters?

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llad12

Diabloii.Net Member
Should the Republicans employ the "Nuclear Option" on Filibusters?

For over 200 years, the US Senate rules have included a filibuster. In essence, a filibuster is unlimited speechmaking to delay or obstruct legislative action. Such tactics have been employed by the minority party to stop the voting of the Senate on controversial laws or federal nominees.

Currently, the filibuster can be stopped by a 60-40 vote.

Recently, the Republican-controlled Senate is considering using the "Nuclear Option". Senate Majority leader Bill Frist is threatening to change the rules of the senate by voting out the filibuster. Accordingly, a 50-50 vote by the senate can effectively kill this rule (VP Cheney would break the tie).

Why may you ask are the Republicans considering this option?

In essence, to stop the Democrats from filibustering President Bush's nominees for federal judges.

In the last four years, the Democrats have used this tactic to stop Bush from packing the lower courts with 10 ultraconservative right-wing judicial nominees. In the past, the Republicans have also used this same method to stop many Democratic presidential nominees.

With one or more of the current US Supreme Court judges probably retiring in the near future, the filibuster is the only tactic the Senate Democrats have left in stopping a judicial candidate. A judge that, if confirmed, could conceivably change the overall position of the court --> and potentially overturn laws like Roe v Wade.

A few links that discuss this issue are below:

Findlaw

Washington Post

MSNBC



With a current 55-45 Republican majority in the Senate, the end of the filibuster is a very real possibility.


What are your views on this issue?
 

DurfBarian

Diabloii.Net Member
Part of me wants the GOP buffoons to go nuclear just so I can listen to them whine the next time there's a Dem majority and they no longer have the tool at their disposal. But on the whole I think it's best not to change longstanding traditions on a whim just so you can get what you want right now, even if you've made heavy use of those same traditions in the past to get what you want.

To sum up, the Republicans are a bunch of whiny flip-floppers.
 

skihard

Banned
If the Democrats were actually performing a filibuster then they would have the person proposing the filibuster standing at the podium talking for hours on end without a food break, without a bathroom break, without another speaker taking his place.

The point of a filibuster was that while said person was talking for hours after hours no other issues could be brought before the chair and the rest of the Senate for action.

The Filibuster was just that till about 14 years ago when some how it was changed to the minority just having to say "filibuster" and the other side would back down.

The Senate is at a point where a simple vote is being block by a word not by the actions that word represents. If the Democrats are truly after “fairness†in congress and doing what has been done for the past 212 or so years they would put someone up on that podium and have them talk, or they would try and get as many people from the other side to vote in their direction as possible and have the vote.

oh and a side note the longest filibuster on record was performed by Byrd he spoke for just over 13 hours before the other side caved and gave up on what they wanted to vote on. No longer remember the subject of the filibuster or the date because its been to many years since I took any political Science classes.
 
Go nuclear. It'll guarantee the Dems a win in the mid-term elections and guarantee the GOP never gets a damn thing done in Congress EVER AGAIN.
 

jmervyn

Diabloii.Net Member
No Nukes!

Make the Dems perform a real filibuster, none of this namby-pamby BS. They'll crumble like moldy cheese when they start to look just as asinine to the public as the rightie pundits scream they are now. Dick Morris says as much here.

It doesn't matter if this has never happened before, or if the Dems are doing this because of moral bigotry - the solution is to belly up to the table, not remove a shifty cheat that you may want back the next time the tables turn. So what if the rightie pundits can point to the Dems wanting to do the same thing when they were in power? The point is, they aren't - so make them work up a sweat, don't change the rules and give them the moral upper hand.

EDIT - a bit more info here - http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/560nvtge.asp
 

Steve_Kow

Banned
What's wrong with letting our democracy function the way its supposed to? I don't think its within the spirit of our constitution to allow a single member to dictate what Congress can accomplish?

What if George Bush wanted to enact laws that would allow him to "fillibuster" his way out of the Nov. Election? If he said "Well, I'm going to give a speech every night and the people can't vote until I'm done..."

Doesn't seem fair does it?
 
Steve_Kow said:
What's wrong with letting our democracy function the way its supposed to? I don't think its within the spirit of our constitution to allow a single member to dictate what Congress can accomplish?

What if George Bush wanted to enact laws that would allow him to "fillibuster" his way out of the Nov. Election? If he said "Well, I'm going to give a speech every night and the people can't vote until I'm done..."

Doesn't seem fair does it?
Oh, I totally agree! Let's eliminate that pesky filibuster so when we Democrats have a 50-50 +1 (VP) in the Senate, we can start outlawing all those guns and no one will be able to do anything about it! Woohoo! Let's see, I'm sure there are a zillion other issues we could tackle with a razor majority, imposing our will on 49% of the country as though they were a 20% minority.

I hope it happens, and when it does, I will look forward to the upcoming elections with even more anticipation. Not only do we stand a chance of winning some seats back, we stand the chance at supreme and total control of the Senate, unhindered by pesky checks and balances!
 

Steve_Kow

Banned
Is the filibuster a constitutional "Check and balance" now? An actual constitutional amendment (such as what would be required to outlaw guns) requires more than a slim majority in congress anyway--2/3's of state legislators et.c provide an additional balance that is laid out in the constitution. Which is supposed to dictate how the government functions IIRC.

It is entirely proper that a party that was voted into a powerful majority should be able to do as their constituents dictate. Rather than be held hostage by the minority opinion in the country.

Why do you hate democracy?
 
News flash--not everything the government does or every rule/regulation it follows is derived directly from the Constitution. At least not last time I checked. Maybe it's gotten longer (say, a few thousand pages longer?) since the last time I read it.

And no, we don't have to outlaw all guns. Just restrict them. Limit who can have them, what kinds they can own, how many types of armor they should be able to pierce, you know, that sorta stuff.

Oh, and while 49% is a minority, it certainly sounds like slashing one's own wrists to treat 49% like 25%, at least to me. Good luck with it! :thumbsup:

See, the whole point of the system is that so no slim majority can impose its will on a very large and nearly equally sized minority. That sort of thing leads to a lot of rancor, which in turn makes our government not work so well. Besides the general divisiveness in our country. But then Republicans are uniters, not dividers, right?

Why do you hate unity?
 

Steve_Kow

Banned
I don't like to be that close to people, that's why.

Why do you hate personal space?

I'm not suggesting that the opposing party shouldn't have an opportunity to speak their minds and make their case, however they should do so honestly.
Therefore, they should make their case and then allow an honest vote to occur.
 
Steve_Kow said:
I don't like to be that close to people, that's why.

Why do you hate personal space?
Maybe I wasn't hugged enough as a kid and want more physical contact.

Why do you hate neglected children?

Steve_Kow said:
I'm not suggesting that the opposing party shouldn't have an opportunity to speak their minds and make their case, however they should do so honestly.
Therefore, they should make their case and then allow an honest vote to occur.
I understand that, but I think that in cases where a minority that could change overnight if someone woke up feeling a little more liberal should be taken into consideration a bit more. This is clearly an issue that nearly half the country feels strongly about that the minority is doing everything in their power to put a stop to it. Perhaps *gasp* compromise might be something to consider? I believe that's the entire point of the filibuster being in place. It promotes compromise, middle ground, and moderate positions. Not that any of those exist these days.
 

jmervyn

Diabloii.Net Member
Steve_Kow said:
It is entirely proper that a party that was voted into a powerful majority should be able to do as their constituents dictate. Rather than be held hostage by the minority opinion in the country.
Gotta cross swords on this one. The point is that the process is SUPPOSED to be held hostage by the minority, to a specific extent. One should look no further than WW2 to realize why we don't want real majority rule, or even absolute democracy. Otherwise we'd have President Springsteen dictating mandatory Survivor viewing hours - the public is too often fickle and uninformed.

I know that the 'nuclear' aspect is a load of hooey, and that nominations were never supposed to be an activity that filibusters applied to - but neither do I want to lose the option the next time someone like Ginsburg is put forth.

(Having pr0n starlets for candidates may be a hoot, but I'm glad we have slimy lawyers - they're easier to despise and frequently more literate.)

EDIT - Drunk, take a look at my previous citation - it gives a harsh view about just why the concept of a compromise isn't going to work. But I hope that means we should see battle royale... maybe we can get some fistfights going, like the Japanese! CSPAN could use the ratings.
 

jimmyboy

Diabloii.Net Member
Only if I want to end democracy and have a one party rule for the rest of my life. Frankly I'd be uncomfortable with either extreme conservatives or extreme liberals controlling the government forever.

Unfortunately, even moderate Republicans are getting pressured from Frist as he threatens to cut their funding. And what is very scarry are this whole hoopla is about the 10 most extreme conservative extremes Bush is pushing. I would recommend everyone to do a little research on the viewpoint of these justices before blindly following Bush's recommendations. It's going to be an eye openner. I guarantee it.

There is a reason that 260 of the 270 of Bush's nominees had no problem and these 10 were singled out. Hint - 4 of them will take us back to the stone age.
 
jimmyboy said:
Only if I want to end democracy and have a one party rule for the rest of my life. Frankly I'd be uncomfortable with either extreme conservatives or extreme liberals controlling the government forever.

Unfortunately, even moderate Republicans are getting pressured from Frist as he threatens to cut their funding. And what is very scarry are this whole hoopla is about the 10 most extreme conservative extremes Bush is pushing. I would recommend everyone to do a little research on the viewpoint of these justices before blindly following Bush's recommendations. It's going to be an eye openner. I guarantee it.

There is a reason that 260 of the 270 of Bush's nominees had no problem and these 10 were singled out. Hint - 4 of them will take us back to the stone age.
jimmy, the meaning of "democracy" has changed. "Democracy" is a term of convenience these days. Just ask Saudi Arabia.
 

Raistlin Majere

Diabloii.Net Member
DurfBarian said:
Part of me wants the GOP buffoons to go nuclear just so I can listen to them whine the next time there's a Dem majority and they no longer have the tool at their disposal. But on the whole I think it's best not to change longstanding traditions on a whim just so you can get what you want right now, even if you've made heavy use of those same traditions in the past to get what you want.

To sum up, the Republicans are a bunch of whiny flip-floppers.
That sums up my feelings.

Soon or later, the Dems will have majority, and they will take care to make the republicans sweat and suffer should they get rid of it. They would putting a nail in their own coffin. Its like using a shotgun to swat at a fly. It will wipe out the fly, yet cause too much damage in other places.
 

Ash Housewares

Diabloii.Net Member
DrunkCajun said:
Oh, I totally agree! Let's eliminate that pesky filibuster so when we Democrats have a 50-50 +1 (VP) in the Senate, we can start outlawing all those guns and no one will be able to do anything about it! Woohoo! Let's see, I'm sure there are a zillion other issues we could tackle with a razor majority, imposing our will on 49% of the country as though they were a 20% minority.

I hope it happens, and when it does, I will look forward to the upcoming elections with even more anticipation. Not only do we stand a chance of winning some seats back, we stand the chance at supreme and total control of the Senate, unhindered by pesky checks and balances!
democratic VP?

somebody's been poppin' crazy pills

you're out! FOREVER!
 

llad12

Diabloii.Net Member
Steve_Kow said:
Why do you hate democracy?
So tell me Steve ... do you want to consider some real "Democracy"?

Consider this:

Filibuster Rule Change Opposed

As the Senate moves toward a major confrontation over judicial appointments, a strong majority of Americans oppose changing the rules to make it easier for Republican leaders to win confirmation of President Bush's court nominees, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.

GOP leaders are threatening a rule change to prohibit the use of filibusters to block judicial nominees and have stepped up their criticism of the Democrats for using the tactic on some of Bush's nominees to the federal appellate courts. They say they are prepared to invoke what has become known as the "nuclear option" to ensure that Bush's nominees receive an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.

But by a 2 to 1 ratio, the public rejected easing Senate rules in a way that would make it harder for Democratic senators to prevent final action on Bush's nominees. Even many Republicans were reluctant to abandon current Senate confirmation procedures: Nearly half opposed any rule changes, joining eight in 10 Democrats and seven in 10 political independents, the poll found.
Washington Post

A substantial majority of the electorate are against this rule change.

Of course, you realize, we don't really have a true "Democracy" in our country.

Just food for thought ...
 

AeroJonesy

Diabloii.Net Member
But if the dems get the majority, the republicans are going to do the same thing, probably out of spite. We may end up with no one getting anything done. Not saying it should be changed now, but I think it's just gonna keep getting worse.
 

jmervyn

Diabloii.Net Member
AeroJonesy said:
But if the dems get the majority, the republicans are going to do the same thing, probably out of spite. We may end up with no one getting anything done. Not saying it should be changed now, but I think it's just gonna keep getting worse.
So you've noticed the blinding speed with which elected officials normally react, and the sensibility of the legislation they pass in haste...
 
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