During an interview with Axios earlier this week, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren decried the legislative filibuster as racist.
“The filibuster has deep roots in racism, and it should not be permitted to serve that function, or to create a veto for the minority. In a democracy, it’s majority rules,” Warren said.
Today, Warren posted a 4-minute video to her Twitter account, writing “The filibuster: Here’s what it is, and here’s why it stinks.”
“It’s time we get rid of the filibuster,” Warren began. “For a vote on a bill to take place, a few things have to happen. One, a bill is brought to the floor. Two, senators debate the bill. Three, senators end debate. Four, senators vote on the bill. Majority wins.”
“That’s the way the Founders intended it to go, at least. Here’s the hitch. In 1806, Aaron Burr — yes, the one who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel,” Warren continued, showing a picture of Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton. “Aaron Burr said that the Senate had too many rules and should get rid of some.”
“One rule that got tossed in the trash can? The rule that said any senator could propose a vote that would cut off debate. That means this step,” Warren said, highlighting the “senators debate” section, “could, in theory, go on forever.”
“For years, business generally went on as usual. But then, Senator John Calhoun realized he could exploit this rule change to seize more power for southern slave-holding states by filibustering.”
“In 1917, President Wilson, tired of the Senate that was obstructing more than voting, pressured the Senate to pass a rule to make sure debate wouldn’t hold up voting forever and ever,” Warren continued in an increasingly patronizing tone. “The Senate responded with a rule, called Rule 22 — also called ‘a cloture vote.’ It looked like the other rule Aaron Burr had thrown in the trash can, except for one enormous difference. To end debate, Rule 22 required a supermajority — or two-thirds of the Senate. Now, a small minority in the Senate could force a bill to get through two votes: a supermajority vote to end debate and a simple majority vote to pass the bill.”
“It made no sense,” Warren added.
Given Warren’s apparent disdain for the notion of filibustering, it seems strange that she has both celebrated others for such behavior, and even filibustered herself, when politically advantageous.
Warren used filibuster to block Tim Scott’s police reform legislation
In June 2020, Warren used the rule while the Democratic Party were in the minority in the U.S. Senate. Not only that, she used the supposedly “racist” rule against Sen. Tim Scott, a black Republican.
“Last June, Democratic lawmakers in the Senate voted to block police reform legislation put forward by Republican Sen. Tim Scott in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. The legislation failed to surpass the 60-vote threshold assigned by the filibuster. Only three Democrats in chamber voted to advance the bill, and Warren was not one of them,” reported The Blaze.
Earlier this week, CNN’s Scott Jennings mocked Warren for her description of the Senate filibuster as “racist,” saying that Warren “filibustered [Tim Scott]’s police reform bill just last year,” and asking “was it racist then?”
Warren used filibuster to block the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act
As Senate Republicans pushed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection act, “meant to mandate care be provided for babies that survive an abortion attempt,” Senate Democrats used the filibuster, with 41 Democratic senators voting to block the bill by filibustering the legislation and “preventing it from advancing to a floor vote.”
The only Democratic lawmakers to vote alongside Republicans were Senators Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Doug Jones of Alabama and Joe Manchin from West Virginia. In other words, Warren supported the filibuster.
Warren used the filibuster to block billions in COVID-19 relief
In September 2020, Senate Democrats filibustered a major COVID-19 relief bill, which included aid for businesses struggling under lockdown mandates.
“The bill was defeated in a 52-47 vote, not meeting the 60 needed to break the Democratic filibuster, a mechanism requiring three-fifths of the chamber to agree to end the debate and allow a final vote. One Republican, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., voted with Democrats in opposing the bill,” reported USA Today.
Warren endorsed Wendy Davis for TX-21, celebrating her “famous filibuster”
In May 2020, Elizabeth Warren endorsed Wendy Davis for Texas’ 21st congressional district. Posting on Twitter, Warren wrote, “From her famous filibuster on the Texas Senate floor for women’s reproductive freedoms to working on the expansion of funding for public education, [Wendy Davis] has been fighting for working families for years — and I know she’ll do the same in Congress. I’m proud to endorse her.”
In October, Warren referenced Davis’ “famous filibuster” again as she shared a campaign advertisement for the Texas Democrat.
“From her famous filibuster for women’s reproductive freedoms to expanding funding for public education, [Wendy Davis] has been fighting for working families for years. Pitch in to help her flip TX21 blue so she can bring that drive to Congress,” Warren wrote.
Elizabeth Warren’s attitude towards the filibuster is perfectly aligned with the Democratic Party’s attitude towards every element of American government.
If it can be used to their advantage, then opposing it is evidence of racism. If it can be used against them, then supporting it is evidence of racism. If it can be used both to their advantage and against them, depending on the context, then it is simply a matter of choosing the right time to launch the legislative attack.
With Democrats holding an effective majority in the U.S. Senate, it seems this time has come.
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.