Throughout the debate over the filibuster, I have been a diehard “filibustrist,” arguing that you can’t change the rules to suit yourself. Even to unblock judicial nominations.
But maybe the filibuster isn’t as enshrined in our legislative system as I had assumed. Oddly enough, the source of my potential change of heart is a New Yorker article (“Nuke Em”) by former Jimmy Carter wordsmith Rick Hertzberg.
Here is how Mickey Kaus sums up Hertzberg’s position:
“As a loyal Democrat, Hertzberg is supposed to oppose the Senate Republicans’ current anti-filibuster plan (the so-called ’nuclear option’). But as a longtime constitutional reformer, Hertzberg is himself an anti-filibusterist, recognizing that the Constitution–which doesn’t mention filibusters–already makes it way too difficult for the government to pass laws desired by a majority. Think about it: An identical bill has to pass two different legislatures, with differing terms, and then be approved by a President who may or may not be in the majority party. Isn’t that difficult enough? Why add an extra, non-constitutional rule that makes it even harder to get anything done?”