Monday, February 23, 2009

The Senate Is A Strange Place

A while ago, we quoted somebody from Pandagon who explained why Harry Reid couldn't force the Republicans to engage in interminable humiliating filibuster speeches. Basically, it only takes one quiet Republican making repeated procedural motions to filibuster -- no long speeches need to be given. Via Ezra, I'm glad that Ryan Grim talked to Senate Parliamentarians, who basically said the same thing. What I didn't know about was this from the 1980s:
Byrd, fed up and deprived of the spectacle of non-stop-speechifying, ordered the sergeant-at-arms to arrest Sen. Bob Packwood (R-OR) and physically carry him to the Senate floor so he could be counted in a quorum call. Such a move is within the legal right of a majority leader, but it backfired when the sergeant-at-arms accidentally injured the 6'6", 235-pound Packwood.
Wait, it's within the legal right of a majority leader to have the sergeant-at-arms grab senators from the minority and drag them around? Why haven't we used this power before?
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