Saturday, January 17, 2004

Eliminate the Filibuster in 2005

I've been looking through my pocketsized US Constitution and I can't find the part where is says you need three-fifths of the US Senate (or 60 votes) to break a filibuster. But, that's because the constitution requires super-majority votes in four situations only.
(1) Constitutional Amendment
(2) Treaties
(3) Override a Presidential Veto
(4) Removing an Impeached President
In all other cases, it is assumed that a majority vote is sufficient. And the Constitution allows the Senate (and the House) to write their own governing rules. But, in 1959 the US Senate passed a rule requiring future Senate rules to pass with a two-thirds vote. It's time for the "rule by the minority" fun and games to end. After the 2004 elections, where the Republicans could gain several US Senate seats, the Republicans should simply ignore the filibuster. When Democrat US Senators object, have the Parliamentarian overrule them, citing the US Constitution. Some people think the filibuster is necessary in order to prevent "tyranny of the majority." But, there's only one thing worse than tyranny of the majority and that's tyranny of the minority. Besides, the existence of three political chambers with legislative power (US House, US Senate and the White House can veto legislation) provides all of the checks and balances we need. It's bad enough that federal judges declare laws unconstitutional without bothering to cite the US Constitution itself. Now 41 Democrat US Senators are making it impossible for these judges to be replaced by better judges. It can only happen if the GOP fails to get 51 Senators to eliminate the Senate filibuster rule.