Filibuster Fact of the Day

One of my new pet peeves is journalists writing about congress as if it’s always been the case that that minorities of senators would routinely filibuster every measure they didn’t like. Simple logic indicates that this is false — it used to require a unanimous vote to end a filibuster and, obviously, non-unanimous bills passed. But there are more examples. For example, before the 1970s you needed two-thirds of the Senate to end a filibuster, but the Lend-Lease Act went through the Senate on a 60–31 vote (according to the rules of the day, you would have needed 66 as there were only 98 Senators) without the minority obstructing the bill.

Thus, filibuster supporters are objectively pro-Nazi. Well, okay, they’re not. But it reminds us that routine filibustering is a new tradition and not a time-honored principle of American government.