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Q: Rules for the old fashioned 24-hour-round-the-clock-fillabuster and Estrada ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Rules for the old fashioned 24-hour-round-the-clock-fillabuster and Estrada
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: schmooz-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 11 Mar 2003 13:22 PST
Expires: 10 Apr 2003 14:22 PDT
Question ID: 174798
What are the rules for a Senate fillabuster. . . a real, 24 hour

I called Senator Hatch's office, (head of the Senate
Judiciary Committee) to find out why they were allowing a
"gentleman's" version of a fillabuster for the Democrats who are
currently using this to stay an up/down vote for Miquel Estrada. 
This kind of "fillabuster" allows the fillabusterers to go home for
dinner and a good night's sleep.

Hatch's office said that it would be Senator Frist who would call for
this more severe 24-hour-round-the-clock form of fillabuster.  Senator
Frist's office said that it would be up to the Democrats or the
fillabusterers to call for the more strict rules. . . well. . . this
certainly does not seem like it could possibly be a right answer.  

So, I thought I would ask you about:
*   The rules for a 24 hour fillabuster -
*   Who changed the rules to the present "gentleman's" fillabuster (
    9-5 type), and 
*   Who has the power, under what circumstances to change them back to
    the harsh, effective 24-hour type we have seen in the old movies and 
    how this would effect the Estrada nomination.

You tell me and I will pass on the information to Senators Frist,
Daschel and Hatch so then. . . they will know.
Subject: Re: Rules for the old fashioned 24-hour-round-the-clock-fillabuster and Estrada
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 11 Mar 2003 14:26 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Although the traditional, 24/7 filibuster is codified, the
"gentlemen's agreement" lazy-man's filibuster is apparently just the
Senate's way of coddling itself. No one has actually changed the rules
since 1975, it's just that everyone seems to be locked into shrugging
and winking rather than reverting to the older, harsher conditions of
a filibuster. I suspect this is because each Senator is thinking to
himself "Someday I may want to be part of a filibuster that will help
me to promote my agenda; if l let these guys bend the rules now,
they'll let me do it later."


"The Senate determines its own rules. Perhaps the most distinctive
feature of Senate procedure is its tradition of extended and open
debate--that is, any senator can continue debating a bill or an issue
indefinitely, unless two-thirds of the senators present and voting
adopt a motion of Cloture to stop debate. The use of such dilatory
tactics is known as the Filibuster. During the 1950s and 1960s,
Southern Democratic senators frequently employed filibusters to delay
or quash civil rights measures. In 1975 the Senate altered its
standing Rule XXII to permit 60 senators to end a filibuster unless
the debate concerns Senate rules (in which case the two-thirds rule
remains in effect). This change, however, proposed as a way of more
easily curtailing the filibuster, did not eliminate the practice."

Grolier Online: The American Presidency


"Under the Senate Rules, which are designed to encourage debate, the
Senate may not vote on a bill or amendment until 60% of the body
agrees to end the debate. This gives a minority of senators the power
to block consideration of a measure by invoking what has come to be
known as a 'gentlemen's filibuster.' Lest one has visions of
weary-eyed senators speaking in a continuous dialogue through the day
and night, a 'gentlemen's filibuster' permits the Senate to consider
any other matter while the 'filibuster' continues. Sixty senators must
agree to end the debate in order to "invoke cloture" and end the

Second Amendment Foundation


Here's an excellent editorial on the subject of so-called "gentlemen's

National Review


More on filibusters:

U.S. Senate


Opinion Journal


Regarding the matter of who has the power to enforce a strict
interpretation upon a filibuster, technically Senator Bill Frist, as
Senate Majority Leader, has this power (the U.S. Senate has rules,
but, unlike the House, it has no Rules Committee.) Senator Frist is
obviously reluctant to force the issue, probably because of the
possible political consequences of doing so.

"RULES COMMITTEE (HOUSE ONLY): The power for deciding the flow of
business in the House is vested in the Rules Committee. In the normal
course of events a bill does not come up for action on the floor
without a rule from the Rules Committee. By failing to act or by
refusing to grant a rule, the Rules Committee can veto a bill.
Furthermore, the rule granted gives the conditions under which a bill
will be discussed. A special rule, for example, may prohibit
amendments altogether or provide that only members of the committee
reporting the bill may offer amendments. The rule also sets the length
of debate. There is no Rules Committee in the Senate. The Senate's
majority leader has the power to determine that body's agenda."

Guidance Associates Educational & Training Videos

Search terms used:

senate rules

I wish I could give you some slam-bang legal ammunition with which to
confront Senators Frist, Daschel, and Hatch, but there doesn't seem to
be any. Sometimes the Senate resembles an Old Boys' Club filled with
Foghorn Leghorn-style politickers scratching each other's backs while
their constituents wait outside the clubhouse door.

Best wishes,

Request for Answer Clarification by schmooz-ga on 11 Mar 2003 16:01 PST
Is it 60% of those present or 60 members who must vote to end the
debate?  Senator Frist's office said that they keep calling for
cloture and they think that this may ultimately work. . . ?!  If it
has not worked. . what would make them think it would work!  Is there
something magic about cloture votes that I am not getting?  It seems
like this is a test to see if Frist will step to the plate and take
control or. . . be rolled by the minority party on an issue that they
cannot defend with facts.  (I heard Daschel say to a reporter that he
was concerned about Estrada's extreme positions but, when I called
Senator Daschel's office - they said that he never he said what I
heard him say. . so, I have been looking for specific problems or
reasons and there appear to be none.)
(I am still looking for that boombox that will record in auto-reverse

Clarification of Answer by pinkfreud-ga on 11 Mar 2003 16:45 PST
>> Is it 60% of those present or 60 members who must vote 
   to end the debate?  

It is 3/5ths (60%) of the full Senate, which is 60 votes.

"At the convening of almost every Congress from 1961 until 1975,
attempts were made to reduce the vote required to invoke cloture to
three-fifths of Senators present and voting. On most of these
occasions, opponents mounted a filibuster against a motion to proceed
to consider a measure to change the rule. Supporters attempted to
overcome these filibusters by asking the chair to rule that the
Senate's constitutional power to make its rules required it to be able
to reach such questions by majority vote. Although they sometimes
obtained favorable rulings, they were never able to achieve a change
by using this argument.

During this time, several compromise proposals were developed,
including: (1) applying the reduced requirement only to appropriation
bills and conference reports; (2) reducing the majority required on
each successive cloture vote; (3) requiring the needed majority to
include a majority of each party; and (4) substituting a requirement
of three-fifths of the full Senate (60 votes).

In 1975, this last proposal, originated by then Majority Whip Robert
C. Byrd, was adopted for most measures, but the two-thirds requirement
was retained to limit debate on measures changing the Senate's
standing rules."

United States House of Representatives

>> Senator Frist's office said that they keep calling for 
>> cloture and they think that this may ultimately work. . . ?!  
>> If it has not worked. . what would make them think it would work! 

I doubt that anyone actually expects calling for cloture to do much.
Otherwise, it would be rather like the old definition of insanity:
doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.
Perhaps Senator Frist hopes that if things are dragged out long
enough, angry constituents will force some action.
>> Is there something magic about cloture votes that I am not getting?

From what you've said, I think you have as good a grasp on the
situation as is possible in these circumstances. Unfortunately, this
is rather like trying to grasp Jello-O.

>> I am still looking for that boombox that will record in
auto-reverse :))

My old Panasonic RX-DS30 that had this capability (the one I mentioned
to you before) has gone to boombox heaven. A cat knocked it onto the
floor, and something inside must have been damaged, because now it
won't turn on. If I ever see anything online that I think would meet
your needs, I'll post it as a clarification to your other question,
and Google Answers will send you an email pointing out that there's a
clarification. Since I am online about ten hours a day, I often come
across useful information for a former customer while working on
something totally different.


Request for Answer Clarification by schmooz-ga on 25 Mar 2003 16:00 PST
Pink Freud - I just posted another question akiing about the
sponsorship of and anti-war rallies.  It did not
come out as questions but as postion.  I am embarrased but was in a
hurry to post it.  I am hoping that you see it and will take it.  I
really was asking about things I have heard and who better to ask.
You do not need to answer this or post it. 
Whew! I feel better now.  You GoogleAnswers are called upon to be many
things. . . .to many people.

Clarification of Answer by pinkfreud-ga on 25 Mar 2003 17:02 PST

I will definitely be working on your other question, but I won't lock
out other Researchers unless I think I've found something really

I've been wondering who's behind some of these Bush-bashing groups and
meticulously choreographed peace rallies. I wonder whether Michael
Moore may be the mastermind behind it all. ;-)

If I find out anything interesting that is not sufficient to qualify
as an answer, I'll post it as a comment.

I can't promise to be objective, though. I'm a card-carrying

schmooz-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
What an interesting person you are.  Everything and anything from
boomboxes to political to whatever!  A great answer that I would like
to email to each and every Senator and Congressman for mandatory

Subject: Re: Rules for the old fashioned 24-hour-round-the-clock-fillabuster and Estrada
From: pinkfreud-ga on 12 Mar 2003 10:26 PST

Many thanks for the wind words, the five stars, and the nice tip!

It's always a pleasure to work for a customer who asks interesting
questions and gives intelligent responses.

Subject: Re: Rules for the old fashioned 24-hour-round-the-clock-fillabuster and Estrada
From: pinkfreud-ga on 12 Mar 2003 10:28 PST
Oops. In my comment above, "wind words" should have been "kind words." 

Sometimes my fingers run faster than my brain.


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