Senate Democrats recently renewed their effort to eliminate or change the U.S. Senate’s filibuster, one of America’s most enduring legislative traditions.
They’ve attempted to sanitize their plan by calling it “reform,” but it’s increasingly clear that their real intent is far more insidious: to bulldoze a key Senate procedure so they can quickly push through their agenda without having to compromise with the minority party. In other words, it’s another brazen attempt to grab more political power.
People of faith in America, please heed this warning: Your religious liberty could be in grave danger if the party in power succeeds at changing the Senate rules. The filibuster is an essential part of our legislative process — a necessary guardrail that protects our God-given rights from being taken away at a moment’s notice.
The Founders designed the Senate to be more deliberative and to move more slowly than the House of Representatives. The filibuster rule used to lead to extended sessions of speech-making, prolonging debate in an effort to delay or stop a bill from moving forward. In more recent times, the Senate decided to keep the process moving by requiring a 60-vote majority to end debate and bring a bill to a final up-or-down-vote. Democrats want to change that threshold to a simple majority.
If the filibuster is “reformed,” it would destroy the Founders’ vision for the Senate and could open the floodgates to far-reaching legislation, policies and even radical changes to the Constitution.
The first step to radicalism
The filibuster in the Senate is a tried-and-true tradition that forces moderation and compromise. Without it, there would be no check on the majority party to push through massive change with little reflection.
This was the original intent of the Constitution’s Framers, who created the Senate to differ from the majoritarian rule and popular impulses of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Senate was designed to be a deliberative body, where prudence, procedure and prolonged debate would, at times, be the safeguard against radical political forces that want their way no matter what.
Eliminating the filibuster creates an imbalance in the legislative process. But that would only be the first domino to topple.
Once the filibuster is gone, other destructive measures would likely surface soon after — such as court-packing. This is perhaps one of the most threatening to the Constitution’s separation of powers, as it would destroy judicial independence.
It’s no secret the party in power is seeking to “reform” the Supreme Court by stacking it with liberal judges who will rubber stamp their political agenda. Last year, they introduced legislation to expand the size of the Court by adding four seats.
Their scheme, however, has since hit a major roadblock: the voice of the American people. A vast majority of Americans (68%) oppose court-packing. What’s more, President Biden’s Supreme Court Commission didn’t embrace the idea of expanding the nations’ highest court.
This doesn’t mean court-packing is off the table or that it’s not a threat anymore. Getting rid of the filibuster is still a viable path — perhaps the only path — for the far Left to reach their court-tilting goal.
Ending the filibuster would also open the door wide for far-reaching legislation currently pending in Congress, including the “Equality” Act — a proposed law that would eviscerate federal religious freedom protections and demand that millions of people of faith violate their conscience and conform to a political ideology.
Take the filibuster out of the equation, and the majority party in the Senate would likely only have to gather a simple majority (51 votes) to move such extremist measures closer to becoming law.
The filibuster protects freedoms and rights for Americans in the minority
At the heart of the ongoing debate to end the filibuster is really a deeper question about liberty and the role of government in Americans’ everyday lives.
Opponents slander the filibuster as a nuisance of parliamentary procedure. Yes, the filibuster is an institutional norm, but it is crucial in protecting our constitutional rights, including religious freedom. It’s essential in shielding Americans from government elites who wish to strong-arm citizens into conforming to a particular ideology.
The need for the filibuster as a check on one-party rule is all the more necessary today, especially for people of faith whose views and beliefs may be considered unpopular or run contrary to the Left’s cultural orthodoxy on sexuality, marriage, life or other essential issues.
If religious Americans are now perceived to be in the cultural and political minority, then the filibuster does indeed serve a priceless purpose. Senators who value and cherish religious freedom have a tool in their legislative arsenal to ensure a tyrannical majority does not impose its will or strip away legal protections from houses of worship and people of faith.
America’s Constitution and the Bill of Rights are distinct and exceptional because of their continuity, particularly the eternal truth that our God-given rights and freedoms do not — and should not — change based on the whims of whomever controls political power. The filibuster helps preserve that continuity so that our rights aren’t changed — or worse, erased — at a moment’s notice.
Bottom line, America needs the filibuster. It’s one of our most essential procedural guardrails in preventing oppressive majority rule and our country going off the deep-end into radicalism — or outright tyranny.
Originally published at First Liberty.
Jorge Gomez is the Content Strategist and Senior Writer for First Liberty Institute. He has previously worked as a communications and messaging strategist for faith-based nonprofits and conservative policy organizations. He holds a degree in political science from the University of Central Florida and a master’s degree in public policy from Liberty University.