Filibusters: A History

Blog readers might find this document, being distributed today by the Senate Republican Conference, of interest:

Dates Democrats Want to Forget

The year the U.S. Constitution was ratified without the filibuster as part of it

The year the Senate was originally constituted with rules that permitted a majority vote to end debate

The year that the filibuster became theoretically possible through an inadvertent rules change

The year that a filibuster was used for the first time to block legislation

The year that a “cloture” rule was adopted to control legislative filibusters

The year that the Senate rules were changed to extend cloture to all debatable matters, including nominations

The first time a bipartisan filibuster was used to deny a judicial nominee an up-or-down vote. But the nominee, Abe Fortas to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, did not have majority support, and was opposed by one-third of his own party. He withdrew his nomination shortly after the failed cloture vote. In contrast, every one of the filibustered judicial nominees in 2003 and 2004 had majority support.

1977, 1979, 1980, 1987
The years in which then Senate Majority-Leader Robert Byrd employed the constitutional option in order to limit minority and individual Senators’ rights

2003, 2004
The years in which partisan filibusters were used for the first time to deny confirmation to a judicial nominee with majority support. Ten nominees were blocked from getting up-or-down votes due to the filibuster

The year the Senate will restore the 214-year tradition of up-or-down votes on every judicial nominee with majority support

Thanks to Barbara Ledeen of the SRC for sharing it.

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