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Robert Byrd and the Filibuster

Steven Taylor has been blogging up a storm on the media-appointed Conscience of the Senate, Robert Byrd, and his ever-shifting views on the inviolability of the filibuster. He chronicles the history of the filibuster, and notes the many changes to the practice over the years, including a significant one in 1975, when Byrd was Majority LeaderWhip*, which reduced the number of votes required to end debate from 67 to 60. Upon investigation, it turns out that Byrd actually authored this rule change. Finally, he Fisks a recent Byrd op-ed and explains why the “right to debate” argument is a canard.

Correction: Taylor notes that Byrd, who would later become Leader, was Whip in 1975.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.


  1. Decision '08 says:

    Miscellanea: The Virus Spreads Edition
    Steven Taylor has an excellent commentary on Senator Robert ‘The Conscience of the KKK’ Byrd and the Nuclear Option (hat tip to Outside the Beltway)…

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  2. Actually he was Majority Whip at the time, and became leader a few years later (1977, I think).

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  3. Robert Byrd: A History of Abuse of Congressional Power
    This week, the blogosphere buzzed with reaction to Senator Robert “Grand Wizard” Byrd’s comparison of the Republican Senate leaders to Nazis. His Washington Post op-ed contains some of the most partisan and hate-inspiring language penned by a sitti…

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  4. john.ritchie says:

    Senator Byrd is one of the few courageous Senators who speak the truth, who will stand up for what he believes without equivocation, and is usually right. I hope to God he and a few others can some day bring reality, straignt talk, and truth to our Government.

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  5. McGehee says:

    So, John.Ritchie, was he right when he was a recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan?

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  6. Carlos says:

    Because he is a Democrat, Byrd will continue to get a pass on being the lousy weasel he is. He has more stripes than a zebra, and changes unshakeable positions more often than a chameleon changes color.

    If the MSM was one-tenth as honest as they believe themselves to be, Byrd would have been tarred and feathered by his colleagues long ago, but apparently none of them has the intestinal fortitude to take a real stand, either.

    Politics. Don’cha just love it?

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  7. garry swaffar says:

    Without equivocation ? Robert”Ku Klux Kan” Byrd ??
    Are you talking about the same guy who changes his position faster than Bill Clinton changes the meaning of the word is?
    Bob ‘KKK’ byrd is not just a weasel, he is a detestably political weasel !

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