Thursday, May 17, 2012

Recommended Reading

Anyone who's bothered paying attention to the gridlock in Washington the last three years already knows how the filibuster, once held in reserve as a last resort option to protect the minority, has turned into business-as-usual this congressional session, with its 60-vote requirement to end debate being deployed as a matter of course by Senate Republicans to ensure that it's a kick-and-scream for anything substantive to actually get accomplished in the World's Greatest Deliberative Body. Clearly there's a lot of business in the senate that needs some serious revamping, but none more than the filibuster, which has been used, abused, and dragged far past any semblance of what it was originally intended for. We're a far, far cry from Jimmy Stewart collapsing at the podium from dehydration here. And as Ezra Klein explains in a lengthy piece detailing the practice's history, it may even be unconstitutional.

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