• One Old Way of Keeping Black People From Voting Still Works

    by Jamelle Bouie

    The Senate filibuster thwarted a bill for federal supervison and certification of state elections, allowing Mississippi to ratify a white supremacist state constitution by suppressing  the black vote. 

  • The Manifest Destiny Marauders Who Gave the “Filibuster” Its Name

    by John Pat Leary

    The original "filibusters" were mercenaries who invaded multiple Latin American nations in the interest of subverting their governments and establishing slaveholding colonies. Today the name is tied to procedural efforts to subvert democracy and impose minority rule. 

  • Democrats Can't Kill the Filibuster. But they Can Gut It

    by Norman Ornstein

    The veteran congressional analyst argues that there are reforms short of blowing up the filibuster that could win the support of two recalcitrant Democrats and allow the party to pass legislation, largely by returning to older Senate rules governing the filibuster.

  • The Filibuster That Saved the Electoral College

    Powerful Southern conservatives Strom Thurmond, Sam Ervin, and James Eastland led the 1970 filibuster that stopped the Senate from approving a constitutional amendment to elect the president by the popular vote. 

  • If Senators Won’t Kill the Filibuster, They Should at Least Sweat for It

    by Elie Mystal

    The Nation's law and politics columnist Elie Mystal examines the changes in Senate rules that have made the filibuster a low-effort, low-cost, and high-frequency event since the 1970s. Democrats can get more freedom to legislate without abolishing the filibuster if they change the rules. 

  • All the Lies They Told Us About the Filibuster

    Columnist Jonathan Chait considers the politics of the Senate filibuster and Adam Jentleson's new book "Kill Switch," concluding that much of the mythology of the filibuster as a check on knee-jerk legislation is bogus. 

  • Make the Filibuster Difficult Again

    by Burt Neuborne and Erwin Chemerinsky

    Two law professors argue that there's no need to remove the Senate filibuster. Insisting that Senators actually talk through the filibuster and that no other Senate business could be conducted during one would return to Senate rules that made the filibuster rare, rather than a routine procedure. 

  • Obama: The Filibuster is a “Jim Crow Relic”

    Speaking in honor of the late John Lewis, the former President said that the activist and Congressman's legacy demanded new legislation to protect voting rights, and that the Senate filibuster should be abolished if needed to pass a law.

  • The History of the Filibuster

    by Sarah Binder

    Historical lore says that the filibuster was part of the original design of the Senate. Not true. When we scour early Senate history, we discover that the filibuster was created by mistake.

  • Adam Winkler: Is the Filibuster Unconstitutional?

    Adam Winkler is a professor at UCLA School of Law and the author of Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America.As political theatre, Senator Rand Paul's marathon, 13-hour filibuster to protest the Obama administration's dreadful drone policy was gripping. While filibusters have become commonplace these days, they usually only involve a simple notice that one intends to filibuster, which then puts the onus on the other side to round up the 60 votes for "cloture" to end the threat. Paul, however, chose to filibuster the old-fashioned way, by standing on the Senate floor and speaking, as Paul said, "until I can no longer speak." While Paul's valiant protest captured the attention of the political twitterati and evoked comparisons to the classic Jimmy Stewart filibuster film, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, it raised an important question few people were asking: Is the filibuster unconstitutional? 

  • Filibuster has long Senate history

    WASHINGTON — The filibuster — used this week by Republican Sen. Rand Paul to oppose John Brennan’s nomination as CIA director — is a parliamentary tactic used to block or delay legislative action.Using a filibuster, a senator can essentially hold the floor to prevent a bill from coming to a vote.Filibusters — from the Dutch word for “pirate” — were popularized in the 1850s and continue today in the Senate on the thinking that any senator should be able to speak as long as necessary on an issue, according to Senate historians. Paul’s filibuster lasted nearly 13 hours, ending early Thursday....

  • Far more filibusters in recent years

    WASHINGTON — From Jimmy Stewart’s fictional all-night talkathon to real-life dramas over World War I and civil rights, the Senate’s filibuster has played a notable — sometimes reviled — role in the nation’s history. Now the slow-moving, famously deliberative chamber is on the verge of dialing it back — modestly.Filibusters are procedural delays that outnumbered lawmakers use to try killing bills and nominations. But they seldom look like the speech delivered by the exhausted, devoted senator portrayed by Stewart in the film, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”In fact, the Senate has more filibusters than ever these days. But you’d hardly know it by watching the chamber on C-SPAN television....

  • UPDATE: Joyce Appleby backing petition to disarm the filibuster

    Joyce Appleby, emeritus professor of history at UCLA and author of "The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism," is circulating the petition posted below among historians who support filibuster reform.  (This is the second time she has championed filibuster reform. The first time was in January 2011 when she circulated this petition.)  She asks historians who wish to sign the petition to contact her at this email address: appleby@history.ucla.edu. We, the undersigned, American historians, political scientists, and legal scholars call upon our senators to restore majority rule to the United States Senate by revising the rules that now require the concurrence of 60 members before legislation be can be brought to the floor for debate.Signatories (UPDATED: 1/18/13)