Article One Powers

Among them is to set their own rules of order. Filibuster in the House? Sure, why not? We’ve already had the Hastert Rule, named after a convicted pedophile- Dennis Hastert.

In court submissions on sentencing considerations filed in April 2016, federal prosecutors made allegations of sexual misconduct against Hastert, saying that he had molested at least four boys as young as 14 while he worked as a high school wrestling coach decades earlier. At the sentencing hearing later that month, Hastert admitted that he had sexually abused boys whom he coached. The judge in the case referred to Hastert as a “serial child molester” and imposed a sentence of 15 months in prison, two years’ supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

Majority (shudder) rule in the Senate? Yertle is your Turtle! Blue Slips, Minority Rights? Antiquated relics of the distant past much like Yertle himself.

And it’s actually more important than you think. Consider a Party (any party, doesn’t matter) that controls both Houses of Congress by a majority of even a single vote AND has a willing pen in the White House.

Among the least of the things they could do is pack the Courts. While my reading of the Constitution indicates a minimum of 3 (Chief Justice and plural Associate Justices), maximums are notably absent and the Article One Powers are explicitly charged with organizing the Courts.

Heck, give them enough Judges so they quit whining about their case load.

Frankly I expect Strangelovian levels of Mutually Assured Destruction until every other person you meet on the street is a Supreme Court Justice and the only way to tell is the secret handshake and the fly robes.

What if the pen is not so willing?

You’re back to bad old Constitutional Super Majorities (or, as those of us who’ve fought wars of attrition like to call them, Minority Rights).

I think a Filibuster a blunt instrument for most things, I like Blue Slips because they’re subtle and nobody knows you the way your homeys do. I think there are many reforms to be made in allowing Minorities access to Committee Hearings and Testimony, I think having the Staff do the bulk of the questioning would discourage showboating.

Likewise I think the Minority should be allowed by rule to bring a certain number of Bills forward for consideration. Hey, if your Majority is all that great, vote them down.

I am wary of impossible Super Majorities because they make blocking things too easy. You might mess with the threshold but is 55% all that much better than 60% or 50% + 1? Seems like you’re just moving the goal posts and unless the margin is sufficient to require another party’s votes (quite a volatile number) where’s your consensus, if that’s what you desire? Might just as well mandate directly you need at least 5 or 6 Quislings.