what does “kill the filibuster” mean and why is that something Democrats want right now?

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what does “kill the filibuster” mean and why is that something Democrats want right now?

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A filibuster is when someone just keeps talking and refuses to stop until people agree to vote their side. Since they can’t vote until they are done it can be dragged on for hours. It’s generally seen as an annoying and childish tactic, but has worked before. Some people want to “kill” it because being annoying is generally seen as a bad way to try to persuade people.

The filibuster is complicated, but it effectively means any senator can require a 2/3 vote for anything in the Senate to move forward. This means anything that is in any way partisan will be filibustered by a senator of the opposing party.

In order to push through Obama judicial nominees, the Democrats changed the rules so no senator can filibuster a judicial nominee, with the exception of the Supreme Court. The Republicans later extended the rule to include the Supreme Court. So now it takes a simple majority to confirm any nomination.

The Democrats want the filibuster back right now so they can block a Supreme Court nominee.

Basically each side loves the filibuster, but only when it helps them. Each side hates it when the other side is using it against them.

The filibuster is a procedure in the Senate. Any bills or action that are vulnerable to this procedure requires more than a simple majority to pass – it requires a 2/3 majority (or 67 votes) instead. In the past, this was deemed as a good requirement to force more deliberation and compromise as it is very difficult for any single party to win 2/3rds of the seats in the Senate. But it also means a lot of bills/processes can be stuck forever.

The filibuster is simply a procedure agreed upon by members of the Senate, it isn’t a law. This procedure can be waived or changed by a simple majority vote. In the past, neither party when they were in power did this for fear that when/if they lost control of the Senate, it would simply be used against them.

In more recent times, both parties have bypassed the filibuster when they wanted to pass something they deemed important – so that sense of keeping to that spirit of compromise appears to have been lost.

“Killing the filibuster” in the current news cycle very likely refers to the fact that there is actually nothing written in stone limiting the number of Supreme Court Justices to 9. The Democrats feel that they have a fairly good chance of being the majority in the Senate in the next term and also win the Presidency. If this happens then the Democratic President can nominate more SC justices and the Democratic Senate will approve it. But to do this, they would have to “kill the filibuster” and pass the required laws expanding the number of SC justices.

In terms of messaging, “kill the filibuster” is a warning to the current Republican Senate against approving the replacement to RBG before the elections. Of course if the Democrats fail to win the Senate or the Presidency, “kill the filibuster” makes no sense.

Rule 2.

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