I'm getting thoroughly annoyed by the whining and posturing from both sides in the Senate as they discuss - or disagree about - President Trump's Cabinet and judicial nominations. I note that Senator Schumer has promised that it will take 60 votes to pass Supreme Court nominations, no matter what.
The problem is, that supermajority requirement - not to mention the filibuster - are not constitutionally protected. They're derived from Senate rules that were passed some decades ago, but which are internal procedures - and they can be changed. The US constitution establishes the need for supermajorities in only a few, very limited circumstances:
- Impeaching federal officials (Article 1, Section 3);
- Expelling a member of Congress (Article 1, Section 5);
- Overriding a veto (Article 1, Section 7);
- Amending the constitution (Article 5);
- Calling a constitutional convention (Article 5);
- Among the states ratifying an amendment (Article 5);
- Ratifying a treaty (Article 2, Section 2);
- After the Civil War, rehabilitating former rebels (14th Amendment, Section 3);
- Removing a President from office (25th Amendment, Section 4).
Article 1, Section 5 of the constitution states that "Each chamber may determine the Rules of Its Proceedings." That's the authority by which the Senate instituted the filibuster and supermajority rules for appointments. However, such authority cannot make those rules permanent. Just as the Senate established them, the Senate can amend or remove them. They have no constitutional permanency, as do the other points noted above.
That being the case, why not get back to constitutional basics, and do away with the filibuster and supermajority requirements entirely, except for those put in place by the Founding Fathers? I think it's time they were removed, so that we can get over the current nonsense and get on with the business of running the country. What say you, readers?