Are we as ignorant as they think?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 23, 2005

To filibuster or not to filibuster, that is the question plaguing many citizens across the nation.

Some are for it, others are against it, but many are still so confused they don’t know what to think.

For those of you who fall in the latter category, let me share these helpful hints.

First of all, a filibuster is not an evil thing. It was designed to serve as a legislative tool for the minority party to &uot;seek consensus and offer amendments to shape legislation to a better outcome,&uot; in the words of Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.

It is a way to maintain balance in Congress with regard to law making and can prove effective in preventing a disastrous result from a one-sided, majority perspective.

Just 41 Senators is all it takes to delay or block a vote on proposed legislation and the process of enacting a legislative filibuster is completely constitutional.

On the other hand, the filibuster that has been happening with the President’s judicial nominations is not.

Never in the history of this nation has there been provision for any such act. In fact, according to the United States Constitution, Senators are required to give an up or down vote on whomever the President nominates. They are not afforded the liberty of a filibuster when dealing with judicial nominees and are therefore operating outside the realm of the U.S. Constitution when they behave in that manner.

In an article found on the American Family Association website, Perkins stated that the filibuster process was not only irrelevant when it came to judicial nominees but &uot;unconstitutional, as it prohibits the Senate from fulfilling its constitutional duty to advise and consent.&uot;

Many people fail to make that distinction for lack of knowledge and wrongly confuse citizen protest against the unconstitutional judicial filibuster with a protest against the constitutional legislative filibuster for fear of somehow losing a constitutional right our forefathers provided us with to protect the minority perspectives in the legislature.

I think if people understood the difference between the legitimate and constitutionally supported legislative filibuster and the obstructionist unconstitutional judicial filibuster, they would know that the people who are against it are not trying to dismantle democracy.

Instead, they would see someone who understands importance of defending and upholding our nation’s birth certificate.

Oh, and next time you see a commercial that begs you to contact your Senators to defend the filibuster, you can know the only threat to democracy is an undereducated citizenry who allows its own elected representatives to fool them into believing Congress has powers they were never given in our Constitution.

If we fall for that one, we’re just as ignorant as they think we are.