Gavel Grab

Lawsuit Over Senate Filibuster Rules is Dismissed

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan dismissed on Friday a legal claim that Senate filibusters, a stalling tactic often used to block judicial nominations, deny majority rule in an unconstitutional fashion.

Judge Sullivan said that Common Cause and individual plaintiffs did not have a legal right to litigate the issue, and that it would intrude on the Senate’s powers if the court took up the case.

“Plaintiffs identify no authority for the proposition that an individual has a ‘procedural right’ to any particular form of congressional consideration or debate on a bill,” Judge Sullivan said, according to an Associated Press article. He dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Senate filibuster rules.

“The court is firmly convinced that to intrude into this area would offend the separation of powers on which the Constitution rests,” he also wrote. “Nowhere does the Constitution contain express requirements regarding the proper length of, or method for, the Senate to debate proposed legislation.”

The Senate is considering narrowing its filibuster rules, a step that could be taken when it reorganizes in early January for 2013. A SCOTUSblog post has more about the court ruling. Common Cause is a JAS partner group.

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