Regardless of who wins on Election Day, a blog piece from Washington Post’s In The Loop says that one thing to watch for in the early days of the next Senate session is possible action on filibuster reform.
Proponents of filibuster reform are considering exercising the “constitutional option.” According to a 2010 blog piece from Washington Post’s Wonkblog, the constitutional option works around the theory that in order to fulfill Article 1, Section V of the Constitution, which states that “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings,” the chair can rule against a filibuster keeping the Senate from determining its own rules and the Senate can then move to settle the issue via majority vote.
The “crux of the argument” for taking the constitutional option, according to the In The Loop piece, is that the previous session’s rules don’t necessarily carry over to the next session. However, the change would have to be made fairly quickly once the new Congress convenes.
Currently, the majority of senators are waiting to see the outcome of the Nov. 6 elections before choosing a course of action. Which party ends up with control of the Senate could be the deciding factor for filibuster reform. Partisan politics, the filibuster, and the threat of filibuster have been blamed by many for the slow pace of judicial confirmations.
While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid came out in favor of filibuster reform in May, he has yet to indicate exactly what changes he would push for. GOP Leader Mitch McConnell argues that the rules aren’t the problem, and that the Senate just needs to “decide to operate differently.”