Thursday, November 21, 2013

Did Harry Reid just save the Constitution?!

Pretty much. I'm just glad I already declared him my hero a couple of weeks back. And my wife even called it a year and a half ago!

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada (note the halo above his head)
The Constitution does require super-majorities in the Senate for certain votes. If I can remember them all, they are: Ratification of treaties; Removal of the President after impeachment; Unseating a Senator; Constitutional Amendment; Overcoming a presidential veto; and one more - I think - it's late and I'll edit later.

Filibuster is just not in there. The Constitution does say that the Senate makes its own rules of procedure. So sure, it's not unconstitutional to have a filibuster rule, just not constitutionally required. In fact, here's something to consider that I haven't heard yet from anybody - the Constitution says that the Vice President gets a vote to break a tie in the Senate. What purpose would that fairly explicit and important constitutional provision have if the Senate never had a tie because anything could be blocked by requiring 60 votes? And 60 is a rather arbitrary number. It has varied in the past and 60 ain't 2/3 which is a constitutional number.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky had it coming. He promised a few times already that he would ease up on invoking the filibuster, but Harry got tired of broken promises. McConnell is in a difficult position as leader of a party caucus driven by a small minority in the Senate and House (of all places) that no one seems able to control. And he is trapped between a tea-party challenger on the right and a surging Democratic opponent barely left-of-center just to hold on to his own seat. A Republican majority is possible in the Senate in 2014 that could do away with the filibuster entirely (So far, Reid just ended it for Presidential appointments to executive branch positions and all appointments to the courts other than the Supreme). A Republican sweep is not too likely as they have not seemed to sort out their tea-party insurgencies yet. And Republicans can still be difficult with a filibuster or otherwise on substantive legislation.

But the way I'm seeing it, I'm glad Harry's there to give 'em heck! Bless him! Let the Constitution work!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome. Feel free to disagree as many do. You can even be passionate (in moderation). Comments that contain offensive language, too many caps, conspiracy theories, gratuitous Mormon bashing, personal attacks on others who comment, or commercial solicitations- I send to spam. This is a troll-free zone. Charity always!