OP-ED

Not only has the process been accelerated, but increasingly the minority in the Senate has been cut out of the process. This encourages a president to appoint more partisan and ideological judges. Until recently, most federal judges were confirmed by voice vote in the Senate: 98 percent of George H.W. Bush’s nominees to Circuit Court were confirmed by voice vote....

Today the Senate teeters on the edge of that black pit once again. Can the highly polarized and poisonously political current Senate show such higher purpose? It seems unlikely.

Such bipartisan resolve might be welcome if the objective were not so misguided.

The procedural rule requiring 60 votes, in most cases, to end a filibuster — to cut off debate and proceed to a vote on a pending bill — is a defining, frequently maligned feature of the Senate. But while most of us have heard of the filibuster, myths about what it is, and isn’t, abound. Here are five.

Presidents are sometimes enraged by the supermajority requirement to end a filibuster in the Senate because it gets in the way of one-party rule. This is when it is most important!

The Senate, once a crown jewel in our political system, is failing America. At its best, which many Americans still remember, the Senate was the place where the parties came together, through extended debate and super-majority requirements, to find common ground to move our contentious, diverse nation ahead.

Without the filibuster as a counter-weight against totally majority-driven procedures, Chairman Grassley (R-IA) and his majority were able to ignore fundamental demands. The minority was helpless to insist that all the necessary documents be produced to the committee.

McCain in his final speech to the Senate in July reminded his colleagues that, “…our arcane rules and customs are deliberately intended to require broad cooperation to function well at all… Our strange rules and seemingly eccentric practices that slow our proceedings and insist on our cooperation are important. Our founders envisioned the Senate as the more delibe...

Where is the great tradition of the U.S. Senate and its oversight of the executive branch? Where are the voices of conscience?

President Donald Trump attacks what he calls the “witch hunt” by special counsel Robert Mueller virtually every day now.

Included in his Twitter outbursts are swipes at the Justice Department, the FBI, the intelligence community and, to a distressing extent, the mass media, suggesting these institutions of our democracy cannot be implicitly trusted.

Congress is doi...

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Richard A. Arenberg

Brown University