Defend systematic obstruction, the last guarantee of minority rights

The BDN Opinion section operates independently and does not set newsroom policies or contribute to reporting or editing articles elsewhere in the newspaper or on bangordailynews.com.

John Cooper is the Associate Director of the Institute Communications at the Heritage Foundation.

Most of what you’ve heard on the left-wing extremist agenda is true. They haven’t been exactly silent on this.

Many members of the radical left, who now set the agenda for the White House and at least one chamber of Congress, intend to try to impose a takeover of the healthcare system by the government. government, by implementing the job-killing Green New Deal and by wrapping up the Supreme Courts.

And that’s just to start.

There is, however, one thing preventing the left from gaining ground and fundamentally reshaping America: Senate obstruction.

Systematic obstruction is a central part of the senatorial tradition that has existed for centuries. It’s a rule that ultimately requires 60 votes to pass a law, and was designed to encourage moderation and counter majority impulses in the House of Representatives.

Today, however, many on the left are openly calling for an end to the filibuster so that they can push their partisan and quasi-socialist agenda through Congress.

This program is pretty extreme on its own, but what is equally shocking about this push to change centuries of tradition is the hypocrisy of so many who once considered filibuster sacred now calling for its elimination. – or refusing to exclude it.

This includes Joe Biden himself.

In 2005, in the Senate, Biden denounced the possible death of the systematic obstruction of judicial candidates, calling any effort to eliminate it “an example of the arrogance of power” and a “fundamental takeover”.

Fast forward to a 2020 interview with The New York Times, in which Biden struck an entirely different tone, saying his support for the elimination of filibuster “would depend on stubbornness. [GOP senators] to become.”

Call me old-fashioned, but I thought the People’s Representatives were elected to be “rowdy”, not to kneel down to every whim of the other party.

But Biden is not alone in this hypocrisy. In recent confirmation hearings by Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Senator Cory Booker said her confirmation “is another time we as an institution are eroding our standards.” However, as a presidential candidate, Booker refused to eliminate both the legal process and the elimination of filibuster.

The ultimate act of “eroding our standards” would be to abolish the last guarantee of minority rights in our federal government. And while it is true that both sides overturned the obstruction of judicial and other executive appointments, starting with Democratic Senator Harry Reid in 2013, the legislative obstruction has long been viewed as untouchable by both sides.

There is an important reason for this. The Senate exists to stem the reckless and radical impulses of the majority, whatever its party, to prevent the “tyranny of the majority” that our founders rightly feared.

Eliminating filibuster is more than just changing an obscure procedural rule – it turns the Senate into another version of the House, where gross majorities rule, compromises are unnecessary, and passions and the prejudices of the moment often prevail over reason and good judgment. .

In practice, this is nothing less than an attack on the rights of the millions of Americans represented by the Senate minority – an attack that will have devastating consequences for our republic and our system of constitutional standards, including our rights. more fundamental.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer recently said of eliminating filibuster: “Once we get a majority, God willing, it’s all on the table. This is a frightening proposition for any American who is not on board with the leftist definition of “everything.”

The Green New Deal, for example, represents not only a fundamental restructuring of the US economy, but also massive increases in the costs of heating your home or filling your gas tank. In September 2019, Kamala Harris called for the end of the filibuster to pass this law. And, most notably, Harris has shown that she would implement a socialist platform in a world without obstruction if given the opportunity.

Litigation is another radical concept endorsed by a growing number of liberal politicians, who wish to increase the number of seats in the Supreme Court and lower federal courts as judicial support to implement their agenda through a judicial decree.

They cannot do it without removing the filibuster. Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey called for it, tweeting in October: “If Republicans uphold Justice Barrett, end the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court.”

Cluttering up the courts would not only politicize the justice system forever, it would turn judges into unelected policy makers and jeopardize many of the basic rights we enjoy.

Extreme new gun control measures, massive tax hikes and a new government-run national health care program (euphemistically called a ‘public option’) are all on the table – and anything would be possible if the systematic obstruction was eliminated.

Instead of promising to blow up centuries of tradition, the left should focus on building consensus and crafting legislation that appeals to a wide range of Americans.


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