Filibuster Debate Continues

The Supreme Court this week dismissed a challenge to the constitutionality of filibuster rules in the U.S. Senate.  However, another debate is intensifying after the Republican capture of a majority in the Senate.  Should Republicans undo the decision made last November by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to take the unprecedented step of using the “nuclear option” to pass by a simple majority vote those of President Obama’s judicial nominees deemed controversial?  Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and C. Boyden Gray, a former White House counsel to President George H.W. Bush, this week made a case against such a move.  They argued that damage Senator Reid did to the debate and amendment process in the Senate needed repairing, but regarding the judicial filibuster, “Some bells cannot be unrung.”  To do so, they said, “would only increase Democrats’ incentives to engage in further rule changes in the future…. Democrats will have no reason to fear that they may someday bear the costs of their own tactics.”  Senate Republicans will consider options in the weeks ahead leading up to the next session of Congress.

  • Find Senator Hatch and Mr. Gray’s op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, as well as a letter to Senators from a number of conservative leaders making a similar case. 

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: November 7, 2014

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