In 2020, President Obama called the filibuster a relic of the Jim Crow era. Obama was putting it mildly. Historically, the filibuster has been a primary weapon against civil rights legislation for more than 100 years. Many Americans have celebrated the removal of statues and renaming of boulevards that glorified Confederate leaders. Taking down statues is just feel-good public relations as long as our politicians silently kill important legislation with a Senate rule that has been used to perpetuate structural racism and white supremacy since the Civil War.
In 2021, the filibuster is being used to stop much-need legislation that would protect and expand voting rights, reproductive rights, worker rights and civil rights; reform policing; provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers; and tackle poverty. Blocking these bills from becoming law will disproportionately hurt people of color, particularly women of color. This is Jim Crow 2021.
The filibuster has been in the news a lot lately because several key pieces of legislation are currently stalled in Congress due to a filibuster threat.
What is the filibuster? How can crucial voting rights legislation be stopped because it doesn’t have 60 votes in the US Senate? What happened to passing laws with a simple majority? What is a cloture vote? What does it mean when people call for elimination or reform of the filibuster?
My guests on this podcast break down the history of the filibuster, how it works, what reform would look like, and what’s at stake if Congress fails to reform or eliminate this arcane custom.
Joining me today are two long-term colleagues of mine at Blog for Arizona, Michael Bryan and Larry Bodine. Mike is the founder and managing editor of Blog for Arizona. He is a local attorney and served as a prosecutor for the City of Tucson. Larry is President of Democrats of Greater Tucson and has been a writer and editor at Blog for Arizona for many years. Larry is also an attorney by profession and a former newspaper reporter.
"PPH Commentary 0:37 "
"Interview begins 6:31 "
"History of Filibuster 7:54 "
"Filibuster Is Not in Constitution 9:23 "
2000 Filibusters in US History 10:13
"Reforms Reduced Disincentives to Filibuster 10:38 "
Use of the Filibuster Has Skyrocketed 12:36
"Mitch McConnell Plans to Filibuster Raising Debt Ceiling 13:56 "
Republicans Have Abused Filibuster 14:53
"Constitutionality and Racist Roots of Filibuster 17:04 "
What Bills Are Stalled Now in the Senate 19:45
"Without Reform, Is the Return of Jim Crow? 22:28 "
"What Can We Do? 25:28 "
"Nuclear Option 25:48 "
Executive Orders and the Deep State 27:22
Sinema Raising Funds on Her Opposition to Biden Economic Plans 28:33
"Would the Senate Function Better without the Filibuster? 31:15 "
AZ Dems State Committee Warns Sinema of Potential Censure 32:49
"Is the Filibuster Needed? 33:22"