Take Action

Get Common Cause Updates

Get breaking news and updates from Common Cause.

Take Action

Join the thousands across the country who instantly rally when there is a threat to our democracy.

Volunteer

Join the thousands across the country who instantly rally when there is a threat to our democracy.

Donate

Make a contribution to support Common Cause today.

Find Your State

Media Center

Media Contact: David Vance, National Media Strategist, 240-605-8600 or dvance@commoncause.org

  • Filter by Issue

  • Filter by Campaign

Case Will Test Consitutionality of the Filibuster

The non-partisan advocacy group Common Cause has filed a law suit with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to get the Senate's use of the filibuster declared unconstitutional. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz speaks with Common Cause president Bob Edgar.

Is the Filibuster Unconstitutional?

As political theatre, Senator Rand Paul's marathon, 13-hour filibuster to protest the Obama administration's dreadful drone policy was gripping. While filibusters have become commonplace these days, they usually only involve a simple notice that one intends to filibuster, which then puts the onus on the other side to round up the 60 votes for "cloture" to end the threat. Paul, however, chose to filibuster the old-fashioned way, by standing on the Senate floor and speaking, as Paul said, "until I can no longer speak." While Paul's valiant protest captured the attention of the political twitterati and evoked comparisons to the classic Jimmy Stewart filibuster film, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, it raised an important question few people were asking: Is the filibuster unconstitutional?

Is the Filibuster Illegal?

COMMON CAUSE, a left-leaning advocacy non-profit, has filed a lawsuit against the Senate on the grounds that the filibuster defies the constitution. Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, a leading anti-filibuster opinion-maker, lays out the Common Cause case as it has been articulated by Emmett Bondurant, a celebrated litigator and Common Cause board member:

Is the Filibuster Unconstitutional?

According to Best Lawyers — “the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession” — Emmet Bondurant “is the go-to lawyer when a business person just can’t afford to lose a lawsuit.” He was its 2010 Lawyer of the Year for Antitrust and Bet-the-Company Litigation. But now, he’s bitten off something even bigger: bet-the-country litigation.

Join the movement over 1.5 million strong for democracy

Demand a democracy that works for us. Sign up for breaking news and updates.