Filibuster’s demise lowers the bar for extremism

WestWordsWEBI have mixed emotions about the U.S. Senate’s decision to weaken the filibuster in order to approve the nomination of Neil Gorsuch as the next member of the U.S. Supreme Court.
On the one hand, the filibuster was used for years to preserve segregation in the southern states.
On the other, the filibuster recognized an understanding of human nature lacking today —that tyranny can come not only from a king or dictator, but from a majority of the masses.
Although not part of the Constitution, the filibuster was one more way to slow the lawmaking process down, to make sure that all arguments were heard, and so that, even though a consensus may not be achieved, at least some bipartisan support was earned.
The demise of the filibuster has been coming for 45 years, ever since Roe v. Wade changed abortion and court politics forever. It was then that both liberals and conservatives began to see the Supreme Court in a different light. Instead of being an impartial oracle issuing its decisions from the constitutional heavens, the partisans saw it as just another political tool to be used to make law in areas where those elected to do the job were too frightened of public opposition.
It came to a head in recent years when first the Democrats weakened the filibuster to move forward the approval of some lower court justices, and then the Republicans refused even to take a vote on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to be on the court.
The logical extension of that behavior would have been to let the court wither away death by death until that rare moment when one party or the other gains the 60 votes needed to override the filibuster. Then approve extremists of one kind or another. This latest move lowers the bar for such extremism.