“In Federalist Papers No. 22, Alexander Hamilton seemed to anticipate the modern day Republican party, writing of the concept of a supermajority, “(I)ts real operation is to embarrass the administration, to destroy the energy of government and to substitute the pleasure, caprice or artifices of an insignificant, turbulent or corrupt junta, to the regular deliberations and decisions of a respectable majority.” (Jones, 2009).
As of today we know that Mitch McConnell and other Republicans do not value their own internal laws for bi-partisanship, neither the value of a silent minority when creating laws. That can be said in the days after the Senate used the ‘Nuclear Option’ to circumvent and have a second vote to secure the newly made nominee for the Supreme Court Judge Neil Gorsuch appointed by them. Even as the Democrats had earlier filibuster move and blocked the appointment. Just as the Republican Party did for a year, when the then elected President Barrack Obama, nominated Merrick Garland for the same slot in the Supreme Court.
This here is pivotal to the ideas of the Senate, as the Republicans clearly now proves that the laws are only mattering when they are in opposition, because when they get in power they will use it to silent the opposition. The reality is that the Democratic Party, is losing more ground quicker than they could anticipate. The Senate are now filled with corporate stooges who could not care about the laws and the true conservative measures, as the filibuster might have stopped processes, but has been there as a safeguard against regulations who might hurt the Republic. That is something the Republicans should care about, but apparently they are hooked on power.
“The filibuster, long seen by its proponents as a necessary check on power and by its critics as a frustrating waste of time, has been around since the mid-19th century. A filibuster simply allows the minority political party to choose to endlessly debate a bill, stalling — and sometimes preventing — an actual vote. The word comes from the Dutch term vrijbuiter (pirate), in addition to the Spanish word filibustero (freebooting). The origins of filibuster use trace back to ancient Rome, and the practice has been common in several other countries including England and Australia. In the U.S., the tactic became known as a label for a Senator who held his colleagues hostage by overtalking legislation” (…) “The first filibuster in U.S. Senate history began on March 5, 1841, over the issue of the firing of Senate printers, and lasted six days. Ever since, politicians have loved filibusters or hated them — depending which side of the fight they were on. Proponents argue the filibuster protects the right to free speech and prevents the Senate majority from steamrolling the minority, thus ensuring that critical legislation gets a sufficient airing before being pushed through. Others contend the practice has gotten out of hand, leaving bills gridlocked in an oft-feuding Senate and stalling important votes for purely partisan gain. Peter Fenn, GOP consultant and former Senate aide, called filibusters the “tyranny of the minority.” (Oloffson, 2009).
The reality of what they have done is that after the first vote on the 4th April voted a majority Republicans to hold an Executive Session to consider Gorsuch as Supreme Court Judge. Than the Senate tried to fill in a clout on the 6th April 2017, but that got rejected by the minority after the filibuster rule. Therefore, Majority leader McConnell came with the good idea of using the Reed Rule and overrule the Filibuster through reconsidering the motion and change the rules on how many that needs to vote “yay” to win legislation victory in the senate. So late after a long debate on the 6th April, the Senate got the amount of votes to get the “On the Cloture Motion” that gave way for the majority in the Senate. So with the new rules, yesterday with 54 Yay over 45 Nay, the victory of the Republicans and the Trump nominee for the Court.
GovTrack explains it perfectly: “A vote on cloture is a vote to limit further debate and move to an up-or-down vote, in other words to prevent a filibuster. With only 55 votes in favor, 5 short of the 60 required, the Democrats blocked cloture so that they could filibuster the nomination. Following this vote, in Senate vote #109, the rule for cloture on Supreme Court nominations was changed to a simple majority. In Senate vote #110, the cloture vote was retaken under the new rules and with 55 votes again, 4 more than was needed on the second attempt, cloture was approved and further debate was limited. Gorsuch was confirmed in the final vote the following day” (GovTrack, 2017).
So with this change, the Majority knows totally control the Senate as the Filibuster is now gone away. It is ironic that the Republicans voting for this week, has as a minority proclaimed their love for the filibuster rule and it value in the Senate. So when themselves needs to circumvent it, it was easy to vote and change so their man could have a slot in the court. But they could use the same rule to stop laws and nominations from Obama.
A few recent times the Republican’s have filibuster themselves:
In 2013: “Ted Cruz called in the doctor to knock down ObamaCare — Dr. Seuss, that is.
The Republican senator from Texas recited Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” during a wide-ranging, 21- hour quasi-filibuster to blast the health-care law” (Miller, 2013).
In 2012: “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) wants to change the filibuster rule in the Senate because Republicans have been abusing it. He pointed out in Politico this September, “Since Democrats took control of the Senate in 2006, Republicans have mounted 380 filibusters. This far exceeds anything we’ve seen before in the Senate. By comparison, in Lyndon B. Johnson’s six years as Senate majority leader, he faced just one filibuster.” (…) “But Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell claims that the 60 supermajority vote rule is ordinary procedure. McConnell huffed at Reid’s filibuster reform, “What these Democrats have in mind is a fundamental change to the way the Senate operates.” (Jones, 2012).
In 2010: “Senate Republicans proved their fortitude today when they voted to filibuster the Zadroga bill, the measure to provide health insurance to 9/11 workers. The measure failed by a vote of 57-42. Under the leadership of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Republicans vowed to filibuster any legislation introduced in the Senate until a settlement is reached on the Bush tax cuts and federal funding” (Clabough, 2010).
So there is a precedence and a history of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to use the filibuster on his own grounds and stop the Democratic Party from getting through legislation, as much as 380 times at least since 2006 alone. So it is not like the Republican Party doesn’t know how obstructive they have been in opposition. Nevertheless, when they got in power they used the tools possible to not respect the way the Democratic Majority Leader Reid did, but instead overrule the filibuster to get in the Trump nominee. The Nobel men of the Republican party who, has said they care about the sacred laws of the Senate, we’re lying all these years. Since the minute they get into power and get majority inside the Senate, they use the clouts and the roads not used. To make sure their will get passed. No bi-partisanship, but instead close the gate and says “our will rule them all”.
The Republican Party and their Senate leader will surely be remembered for their ill-will and take control of the Senate, rewrite the rules for their donors and their corporate partners, instead of serving the public will. The Republican Party and their leader can be remembered for not caring that they we’re ones using a 200 year old rule for their benefit, but when they entered the gates as majority. They couldn’t care less. Peace.
Clabough, Raven – ‘Republican Filibuster Blocks 9/11 Bill’ (09.12.2010) link: https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/3577-republican-filibuster-blocks-9-11-bill
Miller, S.A. – ‘Cruz reads ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ in marathon filibuster’ (23.09.2013) link: http://nypost.com/2013/09/25/cruz-vows-to-speak-till-he-cant-against-obamacare/
Jones, Sarah – ‘Since Democrats took control of the Senate in 2006, Republicans Have Mounted 380 Filibusters’ (09.12.2009) link: http://www.politicususa.com/2012/12/09/block-blame-successful-republican-filibuster-strategy.html
GovTrack – ‘Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Nomination of Neil M. Gorsuch, of Colorado, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States: Neil M. Gorsuch, of Colorado, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States’ (06.04.2017) link: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/115-2017/s105?utm_campaign=govtrack_feed&utm_source=govtrack/feed&utm_medium=rss
Oloffson, Kristi – ‘A BRIEF HISTORY OF Filibusters’ (02.11.2009) link: http://content.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1933802,00.html