News & Politics

The House's Failure to Censure Maxine Waters Proves Why the Filibuster Is Desperately Needed

The House's Failure to Censure Maxine Waters Proves Why the Filibuster Is Desperately Needed
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool

Rep. Maxine Waters’s comments on Saturday night on the Derek Chavin trial were incendiary and could be construed as an incitement to riot.

“We’ve got to stay on the street and we’ve got to get more active. We’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know we mean business,” Waters, a California Democrat, said when asked what the public should do if Chauvin isn’t found guilty.


The fact that former Officer Chauvin was convicted does not make her words any less inflammatory. Her words could easily have impacted jury deliberations since the judge didn’t sequester the jury until the next day. And the judge, Peter Cahill, was openly speculating that defense attorneys would have an issue to make in an appeal.

“I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned,” Judge Peter Cahill told defense attorney Eric Nelson on Monday.

Cahill all but accused Rep. Waters of putting her thumb on the scale against Chauvin.

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“I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function,” Cahill added later. “I think if they want to give their opinions, they should do so in a respectful and in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the Constitution, to respect a coequal branch of government.”

Yesterday in the House, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy introduced a censure resolution against Waters. It was defeated by a partisan vote of 216-210. Not a single Democrat voted to censure a member who had injected herself into a local murder case. That the case had national implications was irrelevant. The majority rode roughshod over the minority on an issue of constitutional import, leaving the minority with no options, no chance for redress, no appeal.



House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., spoke on the House floor in defense of Waters ahead of the resolution’s introduction, calling it a “gotcha partisan vote.”

“I urge all of my colleagues to pick up their dictionary, turn to the ‘Cs’, and look up ‘confront.’ Confront is to face the facts. Confront is to face the truth. Confront is to face the challenges that we have. And that is what Ms. Waters urged,” Hoyer said. “Confront is not violence.”

He added: “[Her] remarks reflect the very profound anger, sense of hopelessness that she and so many others, myself included, feel when we see African Americans being killed during encounters with our law enforcement, and their families not seeing justice.”

This was a power play by the Democrat majority. The issue really doesn’t matter. What matters is how to prevent one-party rule in a republic. Having a majority in Congress shouldn’t be a license to trample the rights of the minority. The filibuster has become a stop sign in the Senate — a pause button that forces members to consider the changes they want to make and a president to work with the opposition to get things done.


Democrats who want to rid the Senate of the filibuster know exactly what they’re doing. It would empower the Democrats’ most radical elements and sideline any moderates in the party who are left.

Republicans are resisting but even if they hold off the Democratic efforts to get rid of the filibuster, there’s no guarantee they will claim a majority in 2022. That would be bad news for the Republicans and terrible news for the republic.


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