Sunday, April 24, 2005

Changing the Rules

Seems like the Republicans can't stop changing rules that stand in the way of any impediments to raw majoritarian power. Filibusters are just the current issue. But Republicans aren't only changing rules that make big news. Part of the reason the filibuster debate raises such a ruckus is that other, lesser known rules have already been changed to benefit the Republicans.

For instance, consider the Blue Slip Rules, which formerly allowed off-the-wall judgets to be blocked before they got to the judiciary committe vote. Kevin Drum's analysis of the blue slip rule from 2003 is still worth reading. One of the current judicial nominees Democrats are objecting to, Janice Brown, is from California and certainly wouldn't pass the old Blue Slip rule with senators Boxer and Feinstein.

Also, Kevin looks at more ways the Republicans have changed boring Senate rules to consolidate their power.

It's worth remembering the changes in Senate rules that Republicans have enacted which marginalize anyone who doesn't agree with them. The filibuster is just the latest in a long line, but most of the prior changes were boring inside baseball.

All these smaller rules changes don't get much attention. But the changes make the filibuster more important, and give the Republicans a much smaller target to focus on and make a media storm about.

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