March 3, 2005


From the Beltway Buzz  column by  Eric Pfeiffer:

A senior Senate staffer writes in to note the following on Senator Robert Byrd’s opposition to ending filibusters on judicial nominees:

“Sen. Robert Byrd took to the Senate floor today railed against what he called the ‘nuclear option’, but has previously spoken in defense of what is really just a constitutional option. But I think he said it best before when he explained that a majority has the right to make its own rules:

‘This Congress is not obliged to be bound by the dead hand of the past … The first Senate, which met in 1789, approved 19 rules by a majority vote. Those rules have been changed from time to time … So the Members of the Senate who met in 1789 and approved that first body of rules did not for one moment think, or believe, or pretend, that all succeeding Senates would be bound by that Senate … It would be just as reasonable to say that one Congress can pass a law providing that all future laws have to be passed by two-thirds vote. Any Member of this body knows that the next Congress would not heed that law and would proceed to change it and would vote repeal of it by majority vote.’

— U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd, Jan. 15, 1979

“In fact, Sen. Byrd led the charge to establish new Senate precedents in 1977, 1979, 1980, and 1987 - including a number of precedents that were designed specifically to stop filibusters and other delay tactics that were previously authorized under Senate rules or prior precedents,”
Posted by John Weidner at March 3, 2005 7:35 AM
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