Take on the filibuster to save voting rights

The filibuster has become a dagger in the heart of our democracy. The Senate rule must be repealed, or at the very least amended to be inapplicable when fundamental rights, such as voting, are at stake.



July 26, 2021 - 8:07 AM

President Joe Biden delivers remarks about voting rights on Tuesday at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia. (Jose F. Moreno/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

President Biden did not overstate our national crisis  when he denounced the current attack on voting rights as “the most un-American thing that any of us can imagine, the most undemocratic, the most unpatriotic … ”

To those strong words, he might have added that voting is also the most UNPROTECTED of the rights that most Americans cherish. Many are unaware of how tenuous it is. The Founders put nothing in the Constitution to sanctify it as one of those unalienable rights for which American independence had been won. They left it to the states to say who could vote.

The Constitution also permitted Congress to adopt its own rules, which is the source of something else Biden left unmentioned: the Senate filibuster. Neither of the bills he urged Congress to pass to protect voting rights has even the a chance against Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s filibuster, which has already prevented debate on one of them.

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