Following the United States Senate’s rejection last night of voting rights legislation and changes to the filibuster, Senator M. Michael Rounds merrily tweeted that the Democratic Senate leaders “just lead their caucus on a failed mission to significantly alter Senate rules in an attempt to pass their liberal agenda on a simple majority vote.”
Translation: Senator Rounds and his leaders just lead their caucus on a successful mission to advance their conservative agenda on a simple minority vote.
SDSU professor emeritus of political science Dr. Bob Burns, responding to Senator John Thune’s defense of the filibuster a week ago, thinks both of South Dakota’s Senators’ minoritarianism seeks obstruction, not the compromise that the filibuster used to promise:
I cannot improve upon Sen. Thune’s defense of the filibuster, but we need to understand it is the GOP abuse of the filibuster practice that is currently the problem and not the intended purpose of the Senate filibuster practice.
The GOP Senate leadership is not interested in using the filibuster as leverage in seeking compromise or bipartisan legislation in the area of voting rights or social legislation. We see no evidence of GOP leadership offering to come to the table with Democratic Party leadership to hammer out differences regarding the pending legislation. The filibuster is being used instead as a tool of absolute obstruction of the law making process. Voting rights will not be further protected by the U.S. Congress as authorized by the U.S. Constitution and new legislation intended to “promote the welfare of the people “also authorized by the U.S. Constitution will not be approved because of the GOP assertion of minority rule over the U.S. Senate law making process which is not sanctioned by the U.S. Constitution.
Thune has confused minority rule with minority rights. The U.S. Constitution and laws of Congress afford many protections for the rights and liberties of minorities to temper the power of the majority as an essential element of our modern liberal democracy.
These minority rights and liberties are secured from governmental abuse or denial but constitutional minority rights do not extend to the minority party right to totally obstruct the U.S. Senate law making process. The U.S. Constitution sanctions the practice of majority rule as opposed to minority rule in ordinary congressional law making. All lawmakers should respect that principle [Dr. Bob Burns, “Senate Republicans Misusing the Filibuster,” Brookings Register, 2022.01.19].
It’s too bad the only minority the Republican Party cares about is itself.