Why Aren’t Tenthers and Strict Constructionists Screaming For Filibuster Reform?

Perhaps because it’s in their interest not to?

But the truth is, the filibuster and the supermajority are, quite likely, unconstitutional.

In the end, the Constitution prescribed six instances in which Congress would require more than a majority vote: impeaching the president, expelling members, overriding a presidential veto of a bill or order, ratifying treaties and amending the Constitution. And as Bondurant writes, “The Framers were aware of the established rule of construction, expressio unius est exclusio alterius, and that by adopting these six exceptions to the principle of majority rule, they were excluding other exceptions.” By contrast, in the Bill of Rights, the Founders were careful to state that “the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

It’s high time we end this absurd and antiquated practice.


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1 thought on “Why Aren’t Tenthers and Strict Constructionists Screaming For Filibuster Reform?

  1. Certainly a topic worthy of honest debate. I don’t know that Mr. Bondurant’s Common Cause fits the bill however, considering just a few years ago, Common Cause was part of a coalition presenting to Senate leaders more than 1 million petition signatures of Americans who oppose ending the longstanding Senate practice designed to protect the rights of the minority.” (Link is to a Google cached version that was once on Common Cause’s own site, but has now been removed since they’ve flipped 180 degrees on it.) Clearly this is one of those, “for thee but not for me” issues where a great many on each side determine their support of the principle on whether it benefits their side at the time or not. Change the title to “Why wasn’t the left screaming for filibuster reform during the Bush years” and it’s fits just as well.

    The article – and Bondurant – were entirely too dismissive of the core problem with what he’s proposing – that it’s not up to SCOTUS to dictate internal Senate rules. What (if any) limitations exist on the right of the Legislatures to set their own rules is the crux of the issue, not remotely answered by a flippant citation of a 100+ year old case. Especially one that actually upheld the House & Senate’s right to use their own rules to establish a quorum.

    I also find the number of filibusters, while interesting in terms of the big picture and should they, is of absolutely no value or weight with regards to can they.

    It’s high time we end this absurd and antiquated practice.

    That’s actually kind of funny. Absurd – quite possibly. But antiquated is an interesting and perhaps a little bit ironic word choice.

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