While the dramatic talk-a-thon of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky got the headlines, his filibuster doesn’t reflect today’s Senate reality. Rather, it was a slip of paper from his Kentucky colleague, GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, that in the same week sank a nomination of a New York lawyer to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. McConnell’s filibuster was on a piece of paper, which is taken as a speech in today’s Senate.
A majority of senators favor President Barack Obama’s nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the influential court. Senators objecting think Halligan is too liberal, as if they live in a fantasy world where a conservative won the last presidential election.
Elections should count in this country, but majority rule does not count in the Senate, so long as a pure paper filibuster cannot be overcome by a 60-member vote to close debate.
Whatever one thinks of Rand Paul, he had the courage to stand up and talk it out like a man. But the way the Senate really operates is McConnell’s way. It is unfair to nominees and to the majority, whatever party that is.