The filibuster has long been a contentious topic in American politics. There has been a tendency for political parties that have a minority number of seats in the Senate to see it as an important defensive tool. At the same time, majority parties have tended to see it as a powerful obstruction to the will of the people. The debate has once again emerged as Congress considers raising the debt ceiling.
Those who support reforming the filibuster contend that it is a violation of the principles of democracy. They claim that in its current form it allows the minority party to stop any and all legislation that it does not support, and therefore prevents a duly elected majority from carrying out the will of Americans. Additionally, they may argue that no other part of our government requires a super-majority to pass or sign a law, so the Senate should be no different.
Those who oppose reforming the filibuster contend that the procedure is an important tool in a bi-partisan form of government. They argue that requiring a super-majority (in this case 60%) agree to move forward with a vote on a law helps build moderation and consensus because members of the ruling party will need to consider the interests of the minority party. Additionally, they may argue that the fact that other parts of government don’t require a super-majority to sign or pass a law makes it even more important for it to continue existing in order to protect minority rights.
So, what do you think? Should the Senate Reform the Filibuster? Students may answer Yes, it should; No, it should not; or a nuanced answer in-between!
Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following:
-Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner
-Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers
-Are expressed in cohesive sentences and are free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors
-They address counter-arguments and opposing concerns in a respectful manner
-They organize their answer in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly