Comments about ‘Letter: Senate filibuster’

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Published: Saturday, Nov. 23 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Here is a list of how many executive branch nominations have been filibustered for our most recent presidents:
Eisenhower-0
JFK-0
Johnson-0
Nixon-0
Ford-0
Carter-2
Reagan-2
Bush Sr.-0
Clinton-9
Bush Jr.-7
Obama-27
Republicans brought this on themselves by their egregious abuse of the filibuster. They have no one else to blame. The Constitution says nothing about filibusters and it clearly states that the Senate may amend their own rules. If Republicans win the Senate in the next election, I'm sure they will be happy this change was made.

Nate
Pleasant Grove, UT

Regardless of tradition, the Constitution doesn't say one way or the other about a filibuster. The Senate gets to set its own rules. Why not let them? I've heard both parties say they wished their nominees could have an up-or-down vote.

Remember: what goes around comes around. Soon enough, both sides may be singing a different tune. At that time, I will happily invite Harry Reid to keep his mouth shut.

Kalindra
Salt Lake City, Utah

US Constitution, Article II, Section 2, "He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law:..."

The Constitution does not require two-thirds of the Senate to approve of a Presidential nominee. Your argument does not withstand Constitutional scrutiny.

Not all Presidential nominees are approved. But records indicate that prior to 1949, filibusters were not used to prevent votes on nominees. Since 1949, there have been 168 filibusters of Presidential nominees. 82 - 49% - of them have been on Obama nominees.

Filibusters prevent a vote on the merits of the nominee. Allowing a vote does not automatically mean an unqualified candidate will be approved - it simply means those who oppose the nominee will have to make a valid case persuading others to vote against the nominee.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

The Democrats saw no alternative but to change the senate's filibuster rule. Despite Mitch McConnell's agreements to take it easy on the filibustering, the Republicans filibustered virtually every nomination that President Obama proposed. It had gotten so bad that Republicans under Obama, had nearly half of the filibusters recorded in the HIISTORY of the senate!

The change in rules represents Republican abuse of the rules in an attempt to undermine all things Obama.

Curmudgeon
Salt Lake City, UT

Exactly where in the Constitution does it require filibusters in the Senate?
Answer: Nowhere.

The fear of partisanship prevailing in the Senate was already realized by the Republicans' extreme overuse of the filibuster to block appointments of everyone nominated by the President, even those who were well qualified by any rational standard. They brought this on themselves.

What we need are statesmen on both sides of the aisle, who are willing to compromise without the threat of a filibuster hanging over their heads, and who will vote for the good of the American people instead of the interests of their own party.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

The Democrats laid a huge egg on this issue and it will come back to haunt them! The GOP should send Reid and Obama a thank you card for the early Christmas gift! Excellent campaign material for the 2014 elections! Obamacare and now this? Landslide wins for the GOP upcoming!

The Skeptical Chymist
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

A few points:
1. The threshold for cloture on an appointment had been 3/5 (60 votes), not 2/3 (67 votes). If it had been 2/3, it would have been even harder to fill positions.

2. Doing away with the filibuster is not against the Constitution. The Constitution says nothing about the details of the Senate's rules. In fact, the filibuster was barely used against appointees until the 1970's, and its use increased markedly when Clinton was elected and even more when Obama was elected.

3. The Republicans have been using the filibuster to nullify legislation with which they disagree. For years, the National Labor Relations Board was dysfunctional because the Republicans would not allow Obama's nominees a vote. Likewise, the Federal Elections Commission was hamstrung by the lack of commissioners because the Republicans would not allow Obama's appointees a vote. Ditto for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Republicans didn't win the presidency or the Senate, so they prevented the government from functioning by filibustering Obama's appointments.

I long for the day when presidential nominees get a thorough vetting by Congress, and individual Senators vote based on their own assessments.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

@ Roland. You are missing the point for at least two reasons:
#1: Who is defining filibuster?
#2: Most importantly, this is not about keeping score of who does the most filibustering. This is all about eliminating opposition to Obama's nominees! It is a power grab by Obama who wants to silence any and all opposition to his power. Demos were all in love with filibustering when they were the minority, but not now. What hypocrites you Demos are!

10CC
Bountiful, UT

Mountainman:

Weren't you one of those predicting Romney would certainly defeat Obama? I remember there being no shortage of rightwing chest-pounders claiming Obama was toast and would be a one term loser.

Given the way that election turned out, and the shifting demographics in the nation, maybe you should be directing your ire at Mitch McConnell, who pushed Reid into doing this.

Remember, the "nuclear option" has been a topic of discussion in DC for at least 18 months, with McConnell giving repeated, but hollow pledges to stop using the filibuster so often.

Item: McConnell is seen by the far right as an appeaser, weak, not a true conservative, so he had great political pressure to oppose anything and everything Obama proposed, with all the tools at his disposal. He is in a very tight race for re-election, in Kentucky.

If the Democrats win the Presidency in 2016 - which seems quite plausible, given the demographic shifts - then all this outrage by the right is just hot air, with no impact.

Blame the tea party for your predicament. Blame yourself.

Pagan
Salt Lake City, UT

The Republican party.

47 failed attempts to repeal the ACA.

Costing $50+ million dollars. Zero jobs created.

More than 400 Filibusters in the Senate. Zero jobs created.

One government shutdown to try and defund the ACA. $24 billion dollars. Zero jobs created.

And…

82 filibuster appointees against Obama.

86 to every other American President in US history.

Republicans 'take back' America, the Republican House in 2010.

Fast forward to 2013, officially the LEAST PRODUCTIVE congress in 60 years, and a 9% approval rating.

The Republican party: Working to stop Obama, rather than do their job.

I know plenty of people who want to make $175,000 a year to work part time.

If the Republican party cannot govern.

We need to elect people who can.

Tekakaromatagi
Dammam, Saudi Arabia

It is not unconstitutional. The Senate can do it. But here is a little wisdom that the Democrats are missing: Do things by consensus. Just because you have the authority (or the votes) to do something doesn't mean that you should. You may mess it up. You can call this the "ObamaCare Rule".

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The party of NO just lost another battle.

Even in a republic the majority should rule. The notion that one man can thwart the will of the majority is absurd.

The opposing forces in our nation’s government are not the mere democrats and republicans but the warring factions of businessmen.

The war against a national government began with the Bill of Rights and continues with the increased ferocity generated by the giant business organizations.

The people who control government control business and the people who control business controls who gets to be rich.

The president is the only representative that the people have in our national government. Just as he should not legislate, Congress should not tell him how to do his job.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

Advise and consent on the nominations... not "put a hold out on everyone because he wants yet another Benghazi hearing to try and shore up his primary base in South Carolina" like Senator Graham was doing. There were several times Democrats wanted to do this but Reid said no because he thought there'd be a way to get Republicans to not abuse it. They didn't stop abusing it.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The party of NO just lost another battle.

Even in a republic the majority should rule. The notion that one man can thwart the will of the majority is absurd.

The opposing forces in our nation’s government are not the mere democrats and republicans but the warring factions of businessmen.

The war against a national government began with the Bill of Rights and continues with the increased ferocity generated by the giant business organizations.

The people who control government control business and the people who control business controls who gets to be rich.

The president is the only representative that the people have in our national government. Just as he should not legislate, Congress should not tell him how to do his job.

one old man
Ogden, UT

It is not unconstitutional. The Senate can do it. But here is a little wisdom that the Republicans are missing: Do things by consensus. Just because you have the authority (or the votes) to do something doesn't mean that you should. You may mess it up. You can call this the "Let's make Obama a one-term President rule".

E Sam
Provo, UT

The Constitution was hanging by a thread, due to Republican intransigence and obstructionism. It was just saved by a Priesthood holder. Well done, Senator Reid, in the fulfillment of prophecy.

4601
Salt Lake City, UT

Perhaps if Mr. Obama didn't nominate such partisan judges while trying to pack the courts, a consensus could be reached. There can be a legitimate balance between majority rule and the rights of the minority, but our imperial president does not operate in that manner. Wait until another party is in power and then the Democrats including Sens. Obama, Clinton and Reid will sanctimoniously object as they have previously. Senator Obama stated that he taught constitutional law for 10 years and the nuclear option was a bad idea. Now it's winner takes all.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@4601
Court packing refers to when FDR tried to add additional seats to the Supreme Court above the 9 that are there. Obama is just nominating replacements for a court when seats open up. That's a presidential duty. It's in the job description in the Constitution.

And no, it's not about "partisan judges", not when a hold is placed on all appointees because Senator Graham wants another Benghazi hearing. That has nothing to do with capabilities of the judges. Republicans just oppose any appointment to the DC circuit because they want to keep Obama from being able to nominate any so that if they get the Presidency in 2016 they can fill extra seats they left vacant under a Democratic president. If anyone is attempting an equivalent to "court packing" it's the Republicans.

ugottabkidn
Sandy, UT

This is the most disingenuous letter I have read in a very long time. The filibuster rules may very may come back to haunt the democrats but the government has not functioned in a very long time because the "policy" of obstruction that was implemented on Jan 20, 2009. Republicans in Congress including those from Utah are conspirators and it is they that have violated the very first paragraph and premise of the Constitution.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Part of Article 1, Section 5 states: "Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member."

The Senate can make its own rules.

Now that the Senate is going to put a lot of liberal judges on the bench, expecting that those liberal judges with legislate from the bench, the Supreme Court will have an active role in striking down that kind of legislation. The Constitution does not allow judges to legislate. It does not allow the President to legislate. It only allows Congress to legislate.

It's about time that the Supreme Court took its proper role in measuring rulings and legislation against the Constitution. With a 5:4 Court, the liberal judges will not have an easy go of inflicting their "legislation" on America.

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