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by
Bridget Johnson

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March 8, 2013 - 7:17 am
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The Senate filibuster is actually created by the lack of rules in debate. “When a Senator desires to speak, he shall rise and address the Presiding Officer, and shall not proceed until he is recognized, and the Presiding Officer shall recognize the Senator who shall first address him,” states paragraph 1(a) of Rule XIX. “No Senator shall interrupt another Senator in debate without his consent, and to obtain such consent he shall first address the Presiding Officer, and no Senator shall speak more than twice upon any one question in debate on the same legislative day without leave of the Senate, which shall be determined without debate.”

The filibustering senator must remain standing and “must speak more or less continuously,” according to the Congressional Research Service. Even when yielding for a question, Paul had to keep standing. Paul also noted that he wasn’t prepared for the filibuster but jumped in when he saw the floor was open — the majority leader obviously will try to structure the daily schedule to disallow for a minority filibuster if he knows one is in the works. Paul was able to sneak in because Harry Reid (D-Nev.) neglected to file for cloture on the Brennan nomination Wednesday morning.

Eating is not allowed on the Senate floor, which is why Paul was furtively sneaking bites of candy and an apple Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) brought for his colleague was removed from his desk by the sergeant-at-arms. Ironically, Kirk is the keeper of the “candy desk” — the old desk of Sen. George Murphy (R-Calif.) who, in the 1960s, began stashing sweets in his desk for his colleagues. Kirk keeps the desk stocked with candy made in his home state, including Jelly Belly, Milky Way, and Mars bars.

The Pastore rule requires that debate be germane, but it’s usually not enforced especially as a senator tries to maintain a filibuster. No matter, though, as Paul stuck to the topic, even as some of the senators who asked questions wandered off point.

Exceptions to the Senate rules in times of filibuster would have to receive consent from the presiding officer, and the majority doesn’t want to make it easy for the minority. If, for example, a senator confined to a wheelchair wanted to filibuster and needed to circumvent the standing-only rule, the majority would find itself running afoul of the ADA if it didn’t provide reasonable accommodation.

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Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
Madcow is still on the air? Who knew?

I'm not surprised she finds it unfathomable that a Democrat could muster up some support for a Republican. After all in her world its a game of 'us against them'. Subject matter isn't the concern - this isn't right vs wrong - opposing the 'R's at every turn is the game. And if a few Americans get their asses 'droned out' in the process so what? Why should she care? If Feckless Won said they had to go - well who is she to question The Won's judgment?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In politics and in ideologies there are unexpected cross-currents and intersections.

I applaud Sens. Paul and Wyden for their views even though I have strong disagreements with each of them on other issues. Things are getting so crazy with how America is "governed" that I actually found an instance where I agreed with Dennis Kucinich, when he pointed out, correctly, that our involvement in Lybia was illegal, as Congress wasn't even consulted.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (10)
All Comments   (10)
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Maddow is a swell guy - just a little confused ideologically.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yeah but Madcow is on the air at a network of shrinking viewer ship. More people read about what was said by the twats on MSNBC than those that actually grit their teeth and watch it. The more they blather on the more they damage their cause it seems to me.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
what needs to change is that politics should not be a sport with people looking who scored points, and who won.

Politics should be about what is best for the country and statesmen cross that border, and Sen. Paul did that, and libs can't fathom that because in their bubble you even had people that didn't understand how Reagan or Nixon ever won the presidency because they didn't know a person that voter for them. Now that is living in a bubble of ignorance and dare say stupidity,
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's easy to get what Maddow's doing here -- MSNBC and other Democratic Party shills can't allow any shading of the narrative.

MSNBC's viewers have to believe that all liberals are good, all conservatives are bad, and the Tea Party conservatives are the worst of the worst. So you have to demonize Rand Paul, especially since he's one of the Republicans possible 2016 presidential nominees.

If your Rachel Maddow and you want to frame every issue in the most stark, black & white terms possible, you can't tell your viewers Ron Wyden and Rand Paul might share similar beliefs on the constitutionality of using military drones on civilian targets inside the U.S. If you grant that, you grant the possibility that someone backed by the Tea Party might have some other ideas that are good, and in MSNBC's playbook, that is not allowed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Here is my favorite 50 seconds of Sen. Wyden not assisting Sen. Paul. in his filibuster. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sL7SLPYku70
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Madcow is still on the air? Who knew?

I'm not surprised she finds it unfathomable that a Democrat could muster up some support for a Republican. After all in her world its a game of 'us against them'. Subject matter isn't the concern - this isn't right vs wrong - opposing the 'R's at every turn is the game. And if a few Americans get their asses 'droned out' in the process so what? Why should she care? If Feckless Won said they had to go - well who is she to question The Won's judgment?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In politics and in ideologies there are unexpected cross-currents and intersections.

I applaud Sens. Paul and Wyden for their views even though I have strong disagreements with each of them on other issues. Things are getting so crazy with how America is "governed" that I actually found an instance where I agreed with Dennis Kucinich, when he pointed out, correctly, that our involvement in Lybia was illegal, as Congress wasn't even consulted.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I had the same Twilight Zone experience a couple weeks ago. He did not sound like the usual Kucinich at all.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Just the fact Madcow remains on the air is a signpost we are on the highway to ruin.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I do not believe the ADA applies to the Senate. They exempt themselves from nearly every rule they require the rest of us to follow.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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