Last month, the U.S. Senate changed its procedural rules well into the tenure of a Congress. The rules change concerned the filibuster. Where previously a cloture vote to end debate on all filibusters required 60 votes, cloture votes on a President's Executive Branch and judicial nominees now require only 51 votes. The rules change stipulates that U.S. Supreme Court nominees are not covered by the change.
Did the Senate act contrary to its own rules, procedures, and customs by making this change in the middle of a Congress, instead of at the beginning of a Congressional term? Is the rule change a proper corrective measure in light of the growth of the use of the filibuster over the past 20 years? Or is the change an example of a majority determined to accomplish its ends merely by virtue of its being a majority? Perhaps more importantly, is the rule change here to stay, or might it be reversed in the future? These and other questions were addressed by our experts.
- Carrie Severino, Chief Counsel and Policy Director, Judicial Crisis Network
- M. Edward Whelan III, President, Ethics and Public Policy Center
- Moderator: Dean Reuter, Vice President and Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society