The Senate will decide in January whether it wants to change its filibuster rule. How it is done could usher in either a constitutional nirvana or a nuclear winter.
September 11, 2006By Donald WolfensbergerRoll Call Contributing Writer
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s unilateral procedural maneuver to effectively change Senate filibuster rules on presidential nominations, resembled the actions of Republican House Speaker Thomas Reed in 1890 to eliminated minority party obstruction. Both moves met with heavy resistance from the minority party.
When the House of Representatives removed Speaker Joe Cannon as chairman of the Rules Committee in 1910, it did so by overturning his ruling that changing House rules from the floor is not a constitutional right. Before Cannon left office in 1911, the House reversed itself, perhaps in part because Democrats would be in the majority two months later. The tale is a cautionary one for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who recently changed Senate filibuster rules.
Remarks by Donald R. Wolfensberger before the CRS Staff Oversight Workshop, United States House of Representatives, October 28, 2004