Federal Court to Hear Filibuster Challenge

A federal court plans to hear arguments Dec. 3 on a legal challenge to the Senate’s filibuster rule.

That date puts a decision in the case off until deep into the lame-duck session or for the next Congress, reports Bloomberg BNA’s Nancy Ognanovich.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said it will hear arguments on whether to dismiss the suit filed by the watchdog group Common Cause against Senate officers or allow the challenge to proceed.

In an order issued Oct. 10, the court said it has scheduled the hearing on the motion to dismiss the case filed by the Office of Senate Legal Counsel. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan will hear the arguments.

Common Cause filed its suit in May, arguing that the Senate filibuster rule is unconstitutional as it violates the principle of majority rule. The suit against Senate officers charges that the practice of requiring 60 votes to consider most legislation and confirm presidential nominees is inconsistent with the principle that only 51 votes are needed to pass important matters.

In its response, filed in July, the Office of Senate Legal Counsel asked the court to dismiss the case on a number of grounds, including provisions of the Constitution allowing each house of Congress to determine its own rules. In earlier cases courts have found the 60-vote rule to be constitutional and have concluded that it cannot be upended by another branch of government, it said.

What do you think about this article? Comment below!