Essay On Filibuster

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THE SENATE FILIBUSTER: IS IT TIME TO GO NUCLEAR? In August of 1957, South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond spoke on the Senate floor for 24 hours and 18 minutes in attempt to block the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957.1 The bill passed anyways, and Thurmond’s efforts only resulted in a misuse of the Senate’s time. This act of speaking for unlimited time in opposition to legislation is known as the filibuster and is a controversial practice in the Senate. The Senate filibuster can be understood through its definition, its background in the United States, and the legislation regarding it. It is also characterized by the support for it, the nuclear option to limit it, and the potential reform to fix it. EXPLANATION OF THE FILIBUSTER The Government in America college textbook defines the filibuster as “a strategy unique to the Senate whereby opponents of a piece of legislation use their right to unlimited debate to prevent the Senate from ever voting on a bill.”2 In other…show more content…
Ibid. 8. Ibid. 9. Binder, “The History of the Filibuster.” Beginning in the 1880s, the Senate began to have a filibuster occur about once every two years.10 This emergence of filibustering was met with opposition. Frustrated Senate leaders began attempting to pass legislation that would limit the use of the filibuster, such reform attempts occurred in 1850, 1873, 1883, and 1890.11 Finally in 1917, filibuster reform was finally successfully passed with the adoption of Rule XXII as requested by President Wilson.12 Rule XXII established cloture that would end debate with a two-thirds majority. Even though cloture was not an immediate path to move forward with Senate business, it was a long awaited solution for limiting the endless debate of the Senate. Cloture made it possible to pass filibustered legislation and continue with Senate business without having to table the issue at hand.13 Cloture was first successfully invoked in 1919 to end a filibuster opposing the Treaty of
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