As mentioned, the filibuster stretches back not merely to Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," but to the presidential administration of Franklin Pierce 152 years ago. And, as a last measure of the defense of the minority, it has had many supporters over the years, like the very people of faith who sponsored yesterday's Justice Sunday, the group Family Research Council.
Yesterday it was opposed to filibusters. Seven years ago, it was in favor of them. That's when Clinton and a then-Democratic plurality in the Senate wanted a man named James Hormel to become the ambassador to Luxembourg. Hormel, of the Spam and other meats Hormels, was gay, as the Senate minority bottled up Hormel's nomination with filibusters and threats of filibusters, minority relative to cloture, to breaking up a filibuster.
They did that for a year and a half. The Family Research Council‘s senior writer, Steven Schwartz, appeared on National Public Radio at the time and explained the value, even the necessity, of the filibuster.
"The Senate," he said, "is not a majoritarian institution, like the House of Representatives is. It is a deliberative body, and it‘s got a number of checks and balances built into our government. The filibuster is one of those checks in which a majority cannot just sheerly force its will, even if they have a majority of votes in some cases. That‘s why there are things like filibusters, and other things that give minorities in the Senate some power to slow things up, to hold things up, and let things be aired properly."
Ambassadorships, of course, are also granted with the "advice and consent" of the Senate, so the FRC's bogus constitutional argument is indistinguishable.
Can somebody please try and find a principle in this mess?
Thanks to Obsidian Wings for the tip.