Minority Again Uses Filibuster to Hijack Senate Will

Two months after failing to enact meaningful reform to the Senate’s filibuster rules, a minority of the United States Senate is doubling down on its old ways by blocking a final vote on the nomination of Caitlin Halligan, a well-qualified nominee to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary gave the nominee its highest possible rating.

“We saw this morning another glaring example of anti-democratic rule by a minority in the United States Senate,” said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause. “A bipartisan majority supported this nomination, but a minority barred them from approving her with another filibuster.”

The Constitution requires only a simple majority, 51 votes, for confirmation of judicial nominees; the Senate filibuster rule replaces that with a 60 vote requirement, effectively giving control to the minority.

Common Cause has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to have the filibuster rule declared unconstitutional. The case is on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia following a lower court’s ruling in December that Common Cause and other plaintiffs, including four members of the House of Representatives, lack legal standing to pursue it.