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September 19, 2007



when it got 56-43?

does that mean something other than that the republicans were threatening to filibuster it?

and if that is what it means to say that an amendment "fails" with a majority of the votes, can you take us on a little trip through memory lane, back from when the republicans had a majority in the senate, so that we can hear what a horrible, undemocratic, unconstitutional thing a filibuster is? so horribly undemocratic that it would justify changing senate rules in a way contrary to those very rules?

because as far as i can tell, we had to listen to a few years of the right-wing telling us "filibusters are evil and deserve a nuclear response!", only now to be told that filibusters are part of everyday life, and the democrats have to respect them.

correction: *democratic* filibusters are evil, and deserve a *republican* nuclear response, whereas *republican* filibusters are part of everyday life, and must be respected by democrats.

is this the dynamic here, or am i totally not following the plot?

is this the dynamic here


I called my Senator (Arlen Specter) and was careful to first thank him (by his phone-answering proxy) for his vote on Habeas this morning.

And I was also sure to ask him to vote for the Webb amendment and *not* the Warner sense-of-the-Senate resolution.

I wish I felt that I had actually made any kind of a difference by calling...

I want Reid to make those people stand up and talk all day about why the Webb amendment is a bad idea...

Stabenow got a call from me early this morning. Hopefully it helped push her over the edge. She has been an utter disappoint to me in that she needs this kind of push to do the right thing. And she has gone wrong many a time...

Wow, even fewer Republicans (and more Democrats) are willing to stand up for habeas corpus than for DC voting rights. The DC House Voting Rights Act failed its cloture vote yesterday by 57-42, with 8 Republicans voting yes and 1 Democrat (Baucus) voting no (and Byrd not voting, though he'd have voted no if he'd been there).

I wrote Inhofe and Coburn and asked them to reconsider their nay votes if they get the chance. I don't expect that they will change.

Here is what I wrote:

Senator {Coburn or Inhofe}

The bill to restore habeas corpus failed to garner enough support to overcome the threatened filibuster. I was not surprised to see that you voted against the bill.

I was deeply disappointed. Habeas corpus is not about being a Republican or a Democrat, it is about being an American and the inheritor of a working constitution. I am sorry that you have so little consideration for the principles embodied therein.

If you get the chance to once again vote FOR the restoration of habeas corpus, I hope you will rethink your allegiances, and recognize that habeas corpus is not a throwaway, but rather a vital and necessary component of constitutional governance.

Jake from OK

Coburn usually responds, Inhofe usually doesn't. Either way it takes a month or more.


I wrote the WaPo to complain about their habit of headlining "Senate Rejects ___" where ___ got a majority vote but was filibustered by the Repubs. Pretty annoying.

Whelp, that's not a good result. Here's hoping the leadership keeps putting it to vote.

I note that Joe Lieberman has put himself clearly in the Republican camp once and for all.

Warner just flipped on Webb.

Keep voting Red, people.

Digby has an excellent chart from Kevin Drum and a good post on this new, altered reality where somehow magically "bills require 60 votes". Not "Republicans' continual filibuster requires ... ".

(As with headlines in which "Eleven Iraqis killed in Baghdad Street" but the agents of the slaughter, mercs shooting machine guns from helicopters, are unmentioned.)

This is why I will always hold the gang of fourteen in utter contempt. We had the chance to force the Republicans' hands on the issue of the filibuster and we freaking caved.

correction: *democratic* filibusters are evil, and deserve a *republican* nuclear response, whereas *republican* filibusters are part of everyday life, and must be respected by democrats.

To play devil's advocate for a moment, IIRC the Republican objection was not so much to the Democratic use of the fillibuster per se, but of their use of it to prevent votes on Bush's judicial nominations.

The argument there was that it was an interference with an executive function, and therefore not appropriate.

Not saying I agree. Just wanted to present the arguments as they were made.

To speak to hilzoy's point:

The Democrats should put legislation regarding habeas, funding for Iraq, and every other controversial issue in front of both their peers in Congress and the President as often as possible. Draw the lines as clearly as possible and make the Republicans go on the record, early and often.

In the case of habeas, we're talking about a right that goes back to the Magna Carta, and that has been explicitly cited in the common law tradition we claim to derive from since 1305. It's a right that is explicitly stated in our Constitution as being one that Congress, and Congress alone, may suspend, and then only under very specific circumstances.

The Democrats in Congress will lose nothing by making that point clearly and repeatedly.

Thanks -

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