Quorum Call — Anyone there?

In my various posts (and Northwestern Essay) about cloture reform, some commentators have said that the best solution is to make Senators conduct round-the-clock filibusters that bring all legislative business to a halt.  Sure that’s costly, they say, but that will ensure that it will happen only when people are really serious.

Basically, that’s what’s happening in Wisconsin right now (and perhaps other states soon) with the walkout to take advantage of supermajority quorum rules.  And it is costly for those states and for the minority party (they have to flee the state and can’t get anything else passed).  You “old school” filibuster fans must think this is great, right? (From a procedural standpoint, of course.)

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4 Responses

  1. Well, actually, there does seem to be a notable effect, of saying NO BUSINESS AS USUAL!, and meaning it.

  2. You “old school” filibuster fans must think this is great, right? (From a procedural standpoint, of course.)


  3. Ken Rhodes says:

    Seth … Michael … me, three.

    Of course, the underlying issue in Wisconsin is why do they have this silly “superquorum” rule instead of doing it the way the U.S. Senate does — requiring a “supermajority” for cloture, which allows the minority (of sufficient size) to shortstop specific legislation without bringing the whole government to a halt?

    I’m shocked at myself for even writing that, but I have to admit … the U.S. Senate has found a poor solution, but isn’t the worst one available.

  4. Anonymous Coward says:

    I’m not convinced the US Senate has the better solution here. The trouble with the cloture rule is that the consequence of using it for those in the minority is too small, so it gets used too often and for frivolous things.

    It even allows the minority to dictate terms to a certain extent, by blocking nonessential legislation which is perfectly unobjectionable to the minority but is of much greater importance politically to the majority, and demanding that their policies are put into effect before the unobjectionable bill is allowed to pass.

    Forcing the minority to risk the ire of the general public by bringing all business to a halt is a great feature to prevent overuse.