New Poll at Deep Something-The 60 Vote Requirement

 Congress, Politics  Comments Off on New Poll at Deep Something-The 60 Vote Requirement
Mar 202010
 

As most of you know, the United States Senate has a cloture rule which requires at least 60 votes to end debate to then vote up or down on the bill itself. It is important to note that the Constitution says nothing about the rules of the Senate, and does not require such a super-majority. The Constitution speaks only to a requirement for such super-majority votes in a few very specific processes, such as amending the Constitution. This is merely a procedure adopted by the Senate itself.

Many times during the Cheney/Bush regime, the Republicans, while in the majority, could not always get the needed 60 votes. Often they threatened the “nuclear option” meaning they’d have a vote to do away with the Senate procedure requiring the cloture vote. Now that the Republicans are no longer in the majority, and the Democrats are attempting to pass legislation by circumventing the requirement, Rethuglicans are all up in arms claiming its some sort of attempt to short-circuit democracy (which I thought had “majority rule” as one of its precepts).

Senators are no longer required to stay on the floor of the Senate speaking to hold the floor in a true filibuster (ala “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”). Given that, should the rule be modified to require a lower threshold for cloture, or eliminated all together? Tell us what you think in our poll.

The U.S. Senate's internal rule concerning cloture requires 60 votes to end debate on a bill. Given that it's not a Constitutional requirement, should majority rule, and the Senate change the bill?

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New Poll at Deep Sand-The 60 Vote Requirement

 Congress, Constitution, Featured, Politics  Comments Off on New Poll at Deep Sand-The 60 Vote Requirement
Mar 202010
 

As most of you know, the United States Senate has a cloture rule which requires at least 60 votes to end debate to then vote up or down on the bill itself. It is important to note that the Constitution says nothing about the rules of the Senate, and does not require such a super-majority. The Constitution speaks only to a requirement for such super-majority votes in a few very specific processes, such as amending the Constitution. This is merely a procedure adopted by the Senate itself.

Many times during the Cheney/Bush regime, the Republicans, while in the majority, could not always get the needed 60 votes. Often they threatened the “nuclear option” meaning they’d have a vote to do away with the Senate procedure requiring the cloture vote. Now that the Republicans are no longer in the majority, and the Democrats are attempting to pass legislation by circumventing the requirement, Rethuglicans are all up in arms claiming its some sort of attempt to short-circuit democracy (which I thought had “majority rule” as one of its precepts).

Senators are no longer required to stay on the floor of the Senate speaking to hold the floor in a true filibuster (ala “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”). Given that, should the rule be modified to require a lower threshold for cloture, or eliminated all together? Tell us what you think in our poll.

The U.S. Senate's internal rule concerning cloture requires 60 votes to end debate on a bill. Given that it's not a Constitutional requirement, should majority rule, and the Senate change the bill?

View Results

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Many Thanks Senator Kennedy

 Congress, Featured, Politics, Society  Comments Off on Many Thanks Senator Kennedy
Aug 262009
 

I’m old enough, barely, to remember the John Kennedy Presidency, and all the hope and enthusiasm of that time. Then the renewed spirit of Bobby Kennedy’s run for the White House.

The Kennedy family is huge, and to this day members of the family enter public service, but the death last night of Ted Kennedy at age 77 marks the end of that original family dynasty. This is a family that has known way more than their share of tragedy, and perhaps the final tragedy is that Ted Kennedy’s life’s work of healthcare for all was not realized before his death.

“This is the cause of my life. It is a key reason that I defied my illness last summer to speak at the Democratic convention in Denver—to support Barack Obama, but also to make sure, as I said, “that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American…will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not just a privilege.” For four decades I have carried this cause—from the floor of the United States Senate to every part of this country. It has never been merely a question of policy; it goes to the heart of my belief in a just society. Now the issue has more meaning for me—and more urgency—than ever before. But it’s always been deeply personal, because the importance of health care has been a recurrent lesson throughout most of my 77 years.”— Ted Kennedy

He stood up as one of only fourteen Senators to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. During the 2004 debate on a proposed federal constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, Kennedy said:

“We all know what this issue is about. It’s not about how to protect the sanctity of marriage, or how to deal with activist judges. It’s about politics and an attempt to drive a wedge between one group of citizens and the rest of the country, solely for partisan advantage … The Constitution has never been used as a tool to entrench currently popular views at the expense of an unpopular minority – and it should not be used that way now.”

In 2007, Sen. Kennedy questionedPresident George Bush’s anti-gay nominee for Surgeon General, Dr. James Holsinger about a 1991 paper Holsinger wrote about the “Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality.” During the confirmation hearing, Kennedy called out the nominee for the paper’s “unscientific, biased, and incredibly poor scholarship.” Holsinger was never confirmed for the position.

Recently Kennedy was the chief sponsor of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act and the fully-inclusive Employment Non-Descrimination Act.

The thing that most impressed me about this family was that these sons of privilege were instilled with the concept of nobilis oblige, and lived out that responsibility well. The United States Senate and our country lost a piece of our heart today with the death of Senator Kennedy, and we will be less for his passing.

John, Robert and Ted Kennedy

John, Robert and Ted Kennedy

From the opening of Faure’s Requiem: “Requiem eternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. (Rest eternal grant them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine on them.)”

Restoration of Constitutional Rights

 Congress, Constitution, General, Politics, The Courts  Comments Off on Restoration of Constitutional Rights
Jul 172007
 

The following has been faxed to my Senators.

Dear Senators Mel Martinez and Bill Nelson:

The history of the present King … [George] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

Do you recognize these words Senator? These words were penned by Thomas Jefferson around this time of year some two-hundred and thirty years ago. Unfortunately, they ring true today.

You have personally participated in usurpations of the Constitution of the United States and founding principles of this country. You have frequently voted to suspend and/or eliminate the rights for which those brave Patriots gave their lives and fortunes. Your recent votes and the actions of the entire U.S. Government have desecrated the principles for which those people fought and died.

You now have an opportunity to right a wrong. I expect you to vote in favor of S 2022 (prev, S 185). Unlike you, I have faith that our two-hundred year old judicial system is capable of handling difficult and sensitive cases. They certainly have in the past.