The Legislative Filibuster is one of the most argued and controversial features of America’s Democratic System. Therefore, the recently announced upcoming reform aiming to eliminate this option causes even more disputes on that matter. Some scholars and political scientists believe that the reduction of the filibuster will help American society issue essential laws and acts in an easier way, while other researchers state that it upholds the U.S. government from making thoughtless and hasty decisions. Although the filibuster question has been put on pause since Biden came to office, this issue remains significant for every citizen of the United States. The idea of the Legislative Filibuster reform might reappear after the end of Biden’s administration. Therefore, it needs to be properly considered, and all benefits and risks should be estimated.
The Legislative Filibuster is a tactic that aims to prevent the approval of a bill by the extension of arguments on the topic in the Senate. The recent announcement of the upcoming filibuster reform led to the publication of a variety of academic and non-academic articles. Therefore, it is preferable to form a personal opinion based on the evaluation of the research.
Critics of the Filibuster
It is believed some scholars that the filibuster is a political feature that stops social progress. Algara (2018) states that it is often seen as a direct threat to agenda-setting power as over 60 votes need to be counted to overcome the filibuster, which creates one of the most significant veto points. Additionally, according to Eckhouse (2020), the expanded utilization of the Legislative Filibuster led to the proliferating number of vacancies in the positions connected with the Senate, which damaged the ability of policy implementation. Therefore, the negative outcomes of its utilization are quite obvious and are often considered a time and resources wasting activity as the filibuster is often used for the postponement of decision-making without its reconsideration.
Positive Sides of the Legislative Filibuster
From my point of view, the Legislative Filibuster should not be eliminated. Although it can sometimes produce a negative impact on the passed laws and acts, its necessity is seen as the filibuster helps to prevent some unfavorable outcomes. For example, according to Nash (2020), Republican efforts in legislation innovation have not been successful because they faced the Senate filibuster. For example, some changes under Trump’s administration seemed doubtable to me, and the Legislative Filibuster prevented the issuing of those acts after considering benefits and challenges. In my opinion, the minority can be right in doubting the correctness of the suggested law; that is when this tactic extends its consideration time. Therefore, there should be an opportunity for prolonging the discussions about the issue and solutions development despite some risks associated with filibuster implementation.
The History of the Filibuster
Therefore, additionally, in my opinion, the necessity of the Legislative Filibuster’s implementation is depicted in the history of the filibuster. The first and most known example of this tactic’s utilization is the historical situation connected with Caesar. In ancient Rome, Caesar wanted both to be elected as a consul, which required him to stay inside the town and to triumphantly return with his army after conquering Spain. However, the second action meant being outside the city and joining the forces. The Senate suggested Caesar propose himself for the election outside of town. However, one of the members did not agree with the suggestion and kept talking about the issue until dawn. As known, in ancient times, Senate meetings ended right after sunset. Therefore, Caesar had to choose the preferable action instead of being involved in both of them. From my point of view, this situation fully illustrates how the filibuster provides equality and preserves social norms and rules as well.
However, I have discovered that many people believe in the correctness of all political decisions passed. Therefore, they prefer to exclude the Legislative Filibuster from the U.S. political system. Therefore, Elliot (2021) argues as well that many Americans have been concerned about Biden’s refusal to actively pursue the filibuster elimination. Based on the research, analysis, and evaluation, I can conclude that more researchers express their opinion against the further utilization of this technique, and their opinion is strongly supported by society as well. However, those who doubt the correctness of some governmental decisions usually perform for its preservation.
Algara, C., & Zamadics, J. C. (2018). The member-level determinants and consequences of party legislative obstruction in the U.S. Senate. American Politics Research, 47(4), 768-802.
Eckhouse, L. (2020). White riot: race, institutions, and the 2016 U.S. election. Politics, Groups, and Identities, 8(2), 216-227.
Elliot, B. (2021). The United Stated may currently be living in a pre-Trumpian or pre-Trump 2 time period: a combined progressive politics and humanistic psychology perspective. Indiana Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2(9), 13-19.
Nash, J. R., & Shepherd, J. (2020). Filibuster change and judicial appointments. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 17(4), 646-695.