Richard Arenberg defends the filibuster

Discussing the recent Rand Paul filibuster, Sarah Binder approvingly quotes Ezra Klein who argues, “When Senate institutionalists wax rhapsodic about the upper chamber, they talk about the filibuster’s cherished role in slowing down the majority and permitting passionate minorities to be heard. That is a valuable endeavor!”

I am one of those “Senate institutionalists.” I certainly wax rhapsodic. I love the Senate where I worked for more than 30 years for three U.S. Senators.


More here, from long-time Senate senior staffer, Richard Arenberg.  Rich is co-author, with retired Senate parliamentarian Bob Dove, of Defending the Filibuster: The Soul of the Senate.

4 Responses to Richard Arenberg defends the filibuster

  1. Chris Mealy March 11, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    By the way, did that anti-lynching law ever make it through the Senate?

  2. marik7 March 12, 2013 at 1:47 am #

    I don’t have a problem with the stand up filibuster; I do have a problem with the couch potato filibuster.

  3. marik7 March 12, 2013 at 1:48 am #

    “The soul of the Senate” is hidden behind closed doors.

  4. DavidT March 12, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    I went to books.google.com and looked up the word “lynching” in *Defending the Filibuster.* Apparently the word does not occur once in the book.

    It is a lot easier to defend “glorious traditions” when you’re not one of those victimized by them. Both Arenberg and Dove AFAIK are white men who grew up in reasonable comfort. It’s easy for such men to pontificate about the filibuster as a bulwark of minority rights, while forgetting the minorities *outside the Seante* who suffered because of it. By “minorities” they mean outnumbered political factions in the Senate–who usually have powerful interests backing them.

    The filbuster IMO has never done anything for civil liberties, and Rand Paul’s is no exception (Holder’s letter changes nothing, since the administration still reserves the right to decide who is engaged in combat against the United States).