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Is a routine supermajority requirement constitutional?

#1JIC XPosted 4/18/2013 7:51:02 AM
Like most people, I find the Senate's procedures absurdly complex and difficult to understand.

I do know that, at least since 2009 (and possibly before that), there's been a de facto 60-vote requirement for pretty much all important Senate business.

The Constitution allows each House of Congress to make its own rules... But is a routine 60-vote requirement a permissible exercise of that power? If so, why not 70? Why not 100?
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#2xeionpPosted 4/18/2013 7:57:12 AM
Originally it was 2/3 of voting senators. It was changed in 1975 to 60
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#3EvilMonkeyPosted 4/18/2013 8:01:36 AM
I can only imagine it's constitutional, but I don't see how it was intended if the writers believed the Vice President would ever have a chance to vote.
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"Our history now falls from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust." -Cassius Dio
#4JIC X(Topic Creator)Posted 4/18/2013 8:03:57 AM
For cloture, yeah. If I remember correctly, there was a time when cloture votes didn't exist at all, meaning that a single Senator could, in theory, stop the Senate's business entirely and indefinitely.

...I think the whole subject is a bit of a grey area, because the Constitution never specifies that a bill passes if it receives majority assent. All it specifically says on the subject is that Congress can override a presidential veto with two-thirds votes in both houses.
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And that is why the age of magic is at an end. {WoT}, Emeritus
#5xeionpPosted 4/18/2013 8:04:51 AM
EvilMonkey posted...
I can only imagine it's constitutional, but I don't see how it was intended if the writers believed the Vice President would ever have a chance to vote.


60 votes are needed to end discussion, only 51 are needed to pass a law
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Superman loves Louis Lane and Spider-Man loves Mary Jane Watson-Parker
DC and Marvel are equally disassociate with their fan base.
#6EvilMonkeyPosted 4/18/2013 8:05:38 AM
xeionp posted...
EvilMonkey posted...
I can only imagine it's constitutional, but I don't see how it was intended if the writers believed the Vice President would ever have a chance to vote.


60 votes are needed to end discussion, only 51 are needed to pass a law

Of course. But in practice yada yada.
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"Our history now falls from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust." -Cassius Dio
#7CountPopeulaPosted 4/18/2013 8:06:51 AM
It's constitutional in that the Senate has the power to make its own rules. But the filibuster isn't in the constitution.

I really don't know why the Democrats even bothered to keep the filibuster. There's all this talk of they'll be sorry they got rid of it if they're in the minority, but the Democrats don't use the filibuster to nearly the extent the Republicans do.
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#8sith_acolyte15Posted 4/18/2013 8:06:58 AM
xeionp posted...
EvilMonkey posted...
I can only imagine it's constitutional, but I don't see how it was intended if the writers believed the Vice President would ever have a chance to vote.


60 votes are needed to end discussion, only 51 are needed to pass a law


Please tell that to the Democrats in the Senate.
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#9JIC X(Topic Creator)Posted 4/18/2013 8:42:52 AM
xeionp posted...
EvilMonkey posted...
I can only imagine it's constitutional, but I don't see how it was intended if the writers believed the Vice President would ever have a chance to vote.


60 votes are needed to end discussion, only 51 are needed to pass a law


Y'know what they say about the letter and spirit of the law.
If you put a mandatory 60 vote obstacle in front of passage, you're substantially requiring 60 votes for passage, even if you characterize the requirement as a procedural formality.
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And that is why the age of magic is at an end. {WoT}, Emeritus
#10JIC X(Topic Creator)Posted 4/18/2013 8:46:46 AM
I really don't know why the Democrats even bothered to keep the filibuster. There's all this talk of they'll be sorry they got rid of it if they're in the minority, but the Democrats don't use the filibuster to nearly the extent the Republicans do.

I don't think it's really about protecting the interests of the minority party in the Senate.
If it were, there'd be no reason to resist, for example, the talking filibuster requirement.

The reason the old guard likes the procedural snag known today as the "filibuster" (so called even though it rarely involves the classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington / Rand Paul "talk until you can't talk no more" little guy stand against the big bads) and other, less publicized delay tactics like holds, is that these procedures dramatically enhance the clout of individual Senators.
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And that is why the age of magic is at an end. {WoT}, Emeritus