On Filibustering

Paolo on Filibustering

When a bill is submitted to the Senate floor for discussion, there is no legal limit to the time allotted to each speaker. It is a question of politeness and decency to keep oneself reasonably short to allow other speakers to speak.

However, to delay or avoid voting on a bill, some speakers occasionally speak for an extremely long time. This practice is called “filibustering.” The word originates from the word “filibuster,” which was used in the past to indicate a group of pirates in the Caribbean Sea, and not well mannered people.

In the US Senate, filibustering is shunned when 60 Senators agree on a bill. When there is no such majority, a bill can be blocked by the practice of filibustering.

Today, the question is open regarding the legitimacy of prohibiting filibustering. As a matter of fact, some Senators might decide to filibuster to avoid having certain bills, such as the one on voting rights, from being submitted to the vote of the Senate before the end of the Senate session.

Paolo Giacomoni