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Can someone explain the filibuster thing?

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monkeyboy Donating Member (965 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 01:56 PM
Original message
Can someone explain the filibuster thing?
I mean, really explain it, all politics aside, from a technical point of view? I just don't get what each side is trying to accomplish. Thanks in advance.
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denverbill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 02:03 PM
Response to Original message
1. A filibuster is a political tool used in the Senate.
In the Senate (not the House) any member can speak for as long as they can continue if they so desire. Therefore, a single Senator can delay progress on all legislation by simply standing up and talking forever. Groups of Senators can do the same thing, and so, keep a filibuster going indefinitely. The only way a filibuster can be broken is if 60 Senators vote to end the filibuster.

Republicans are trying to force a floor vote on extremist judges they want approved. With their one-vote majority, the judges would likely be approved. By threatening to filibuster the judges, Democrats are successfully preventing Republicans from placing extremist judges on the benches of the top federal courts.
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monkeyboy Donating Member (965 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. So now that the filibuster has ended
after 40 hrs, what has changed?
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ieoeja Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 02:15 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Everybody now knows ...

... that Democrats have permitted 98% of Bush's nominees to reach the floor of the Senate for a vote. Previously, media pundits had led most people to believe a substantial percentage of his nominees were being blocked, 30% to 60% depending on the source.
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monkeyboy Donating Member (965 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 02:20 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. So technically...
...the Repubs could turn right around and try to get another vote, and the Dems would have to again filibuster?
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Yes
We do not have the votes to "turn down" any of these nominees. We can only keep them from coming to an up or down vote.

The filibuster has not actually ended. The Republicans could force us to stand up there and talk indefinitely (24-7) to maintain the filibuster. No other work could get done.



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NewJerseyDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #7
17. Democrats don't have to talk
That really isn't the case anymore. That wasn't even what was happening over the past few days. They can't force anything.

The Senate allows any senator to object to the end of debate on almost anything. That doesn't mean that they have to acually be physically debating the issue. They can just be sitting there ready to object in the event of a unanimous consent request to end debate. They must get 60 votes to invoke cloture to end debate.

None of this has to do with speeches!! That is just when you don't have enough votes to defeat cloture and want to stall anyway.
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Yupster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #5
16. If I were Frist, I would
Force the next filibuster about three days before the Democratic convention and keep it going until the convention is over a few days. I would use it to suck up news coverage whenever news was bad.

Much like the Texas legislators fleeing the state, I see this filibuster as a bad escalation.

I also don't like the idea that one party feels they have the right to decide who's an "extremist" in the other party. To Orrin Hatch, every Democratic nominee from now on may be declared an "extremist."

The Republicans have a one vote majority in the senate and a pretty decent group of moderate senators who are not unwilling to go against the leadership. If the Democrats can't get Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, or Lincoln Chaffee to see a judge as an extremist, perhaps they're not.

I don't know much about these judges, but I am from Texas so I've heard of Priscilla Owens for years. It's not like Bush picked her working at Burger King. She's been on the Texas Supreme Court for years, and I never heard the state Democratic Party call her an extremist until this nomination started. Also the American Bar Association gave her their top rating which is "well qualified" or something like that.

I don't see that the benefit of keeping Owens off the court is worth the establishing of new ways of fighting that are guaranteed to come back and bite us, hopefully in the near future. Justices Breyer and Ginsburg, two perfectly reliable liberal votes on the court were passed by Republicans in the senate without a whole lot of rankor. That won't happen next time I'm afraid.
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tlmorris Donating Member (53 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 02:20 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. The filibuster isn't over.
The 39 hour debate was to convince Dems to vote to end the filibuster. That vote today, which required 60 votes, fell quite short and didn't succeed.
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monkeyboy Donating Member (965 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. So can they go on to other business?
Or do they have to continue to filibuster and stick to the judicial nominations subject?
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. It's entirely up to the leadership.
eom.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 02:29 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. The Senate Majority leader can call a filibuster vote at anytime.
He just calls as the next business to be worked on the nomination of a judge (the agenda must be given the minority ahead of time - 24 or 48 hours as I recall) and the minority rises to speak against - and a filibuster vote (a vote to have a time limit on the debate) is made, and we see if we have 60 votes at that time - if not, the Dems speak forever until the Majority leader pulls the nomination for later discussion and moves on to the next topic.
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denverbill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. Yes, actually, I didn't explain it well.
The 40 hour thing that just ended wasn't the filibuster, actually. It was a ploy by Republicans to try to get past a threat of a filibuster. By keeping the Senate in session for 40 hours, if the Democrats ever got down on their guard and fell asleep or something, the pukies might be able to somehow overcome the filibuster and vote on the candidates.

However, all it takes is one, single solitary awake Democrat to oppose the policy and prevent the vote by requesting a quorom call or starting a filibuster of his own to stop the ploy, so it was a lost cause for Republicans from the beginning.
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kanrok Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #1
11. Bill Frist is also a "tool" used in the Senate
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yolatengo Donating Member (282 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #1
13. to be 'fair'...
The Repub position is that the nominees were voted out of the Judiciary
Committee and 'deserve' a full up-or-down vote. That the filibuster is
traditionally NOT used in this circumstance and it 'poisons' the camraderie
of the Senate (because it makes it so that ANY minority beef can be
filibustered into oblivion...the so-called 'tyranny of the 60' because you
need 60 votes to break a filibuster).

Hell, I agree with the GOP on this in general principles. However,
f*ck THEM. They spent EIGHT YEARS preventing decent, centrist
jurists from ever getting out of Committee! They're ONLY real
argument is "we never did this to you...filibustered someone who
was already approved by the judiciary committee". In reality, what
they did was far worse; they kept nominees from seeing the light
of day simply because they were Clinton nominees and not far-
right ideologues.

Look at the list of Clinton nominees. Every one of them was a
good deal for America. All were approved by the ABA, every single
one was a levelheaded, professional jurist with experience. And
they prevented them from coming up for a vote simply because
they could and they wanted to wait for the next Repuke to come
along so they could stack the court. Then look at the GOP nominees.
Hell, some have NEVER SAT AS A JURIST! Some are basically lobbyists
with a JD. They have NO temprament to sit on a court (any more than
a religious nutjob like Moore does).

Again, f*ck THEM. Bush LOST the election. The GOP may hold all
the cards, and make all the 'rules', but that's simply a reflection of
our 'winner take all' system (which protrudes into Senate Rules),
NOT BECAUSE THEY HAVE A BONA FIDE MANDATE TO STACK THE
COURTS *FOREVER* WITH FAR-RIGHT FASCISTS (don't believe me?
look at Owen's jurisprudence).

Sure, I agree with Santorum; it's not 'nice' for the Democrats to
pull these 'tricks' because they can or because they want 'payback'
for Clinton. In principle that's true. But this STARTED with the GOP
and like the dog-f*cker says, he can't WAIT to do 'the same' to the
Democrats with they hold power again.

Lessee, Little Ricky...you did it to Clinton, we SHOULDN'T do it
to Bush (despite approving 168 of 172 judges)...and you're going
to do it 'again' for the next Democratic prez? Sounds like you
'win' 3 times to our NONE. Sound fair? Yeah, maybe to you and
your perpetual deck stackers. You stack the election deck thru
the felonious 5, redistricting, recalls. You stack business thru
the K-street Project, Halliburton in Iraq, Enron. All you do is
cheat to get what you want, and you whine like a little infant
when you don't get EVERYTHING your way? Well then, start
the civility; STOP acting like you have 95 Senators and 400
Congressman, running roughshod over about 49.9% of the
American People who are Democrats and we won't have to
resort to these 'tactics' to prevent you shoving things down
the throats of us all when you DON'T have the will of the people!
Get 75% of the vote and do what you want! Until then, screw off
and get back to work doing the people's business instead of
this 40 hour campaign rally for your hard-right base. It won't
fly and I hope to Gawd those 4 keep their day jobs.

Bigby
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monkeyboy Donating Member (965 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 03:15 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. The part that turned my stomach...
...was when that sniveling little Ralph Reed look-alike, I forget his name, started making veiled threats that basically went something like "wait until it's your turn, payback is hell". Don't these morons realize that this IS the payback? It's like somebody beating you up and saying "don't you dare fight back, or we'll beat you up". Absurd.
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Arkady Donating Member (40 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 02:34 PM
Response to Original message
12. No Sleep
It means I've been stuck in the Capitol during the damn thing because my boss couldn't go home. Big pain in the ass.
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Frodo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 02:41 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. And?
How long would that have to go on before you or your boss would give up?

Republicans could presumably take turns going home since THEY know when they are going to call a cloture vote and YOU do not.
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tritsofme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. You need to schedule a cloture vote 24 hrs in advance
nt
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KalicoKitty Donating Member (777 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 04:51 PM
Response to Original message
19. Dems Hold Firm Against GOP Push for Right-Wing Judges

Republicans stopped Senate business for 39 straight hours to complain that Democrats are standing up to Bush on his right-wing judicial nominees. Here are the facts:

The Senate has confirmed 168 of President Bush's judicial nominees.

Democrats have filibustered just four of Bush's nominees because they hold extremist, ultraconservative views far outside the mainstream.

Republicans blocked 63 of President Clinton's nominees to the federal bench.

Republicans refused to give many of Clinton's nominees hearings at all, and even blocked some of them with anonymous holds from a single Republican Senator.

The federal judiciary has fewer vacancies now than any time for the past 20 years. This Republican publicity stunt is about one thing:

packing the court with ultraconservative ideologues who will reverse decades of progress on civil rights, worker's rights, reproductive rights, environmental protections, and much more.

Democratic Senators Take a Stand...

Faced with hour upon hour of hypocritical speeches from Senate Republicans, Democrats responded by standing up for all our values and refusing to give in to pressure from the GOP.

They promised to continue to fight for an independent federal judiciary free from extremist ideologues.

From Democrats.org
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Yupster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 05:26 PM
Response to Original message
20. Two Questions
1. Who were the two Democratic senators who voted with the 51 Republicans for closure? I'm assuming Miller was one.

2. What would be a good end for this? I kept asking the same question during the Texas fleeing situation. There didn't ever seem to be an endgame other than the other side needs to back down.

Personally, I don't think it would be a good end if the precedent is firmly established that either party could block any and all judges they don't like with 41 votes. I see that inevitably escalating into each side blocking everybody. I guess an answer would be to only block "extremist" judges, but then who's an extremist? You can't go by what the other party says. That just seems silly. Any Democratically nominated judge considered "extremist" by the GOP must be withdrawn. Well that's easy. Then they're all extremists.

Anyway, what's the endgame in all this?
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