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Pallone Introduces Legislation to Include Senate Filibuster in U.S. Constitution

Location: Washington, DC


---Says Rights of the Minority Must Be Protected---

As the U.S. Senate prepares for a historic vote tomorrow on the future of judicial filibusters, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would amend the U.S. Constitution to permanently include the right of the filibuster in all Senate proceedings.

Pallone would amend the U.S. Constitution by adding a new article that would state: "The debate upon any measure, motion, or other matter pending before the Senate may not be brought to a close except by unanimous consent of the concurrence of three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn, except on a measure or motion to amend the Senate rules, in which case the necessary affirmative vote shall be two-thirds of the Senators present and voting."

"The fundamental right of the minority to filibuster in the U.S. Senate is a critical check of the majority that simply cannot be eliminated," Pallone said. "If the Senate is allowed to end the filibustering of judicial nominees this week, what keeps the majority from ending filibustering of all legislation down the line?"

"We cannot allow the Senate to become a second House of Representatives, where the will of the majority rules," Pallone continued. "The Senate is supposed to be different, and the filibuster is the main device available to the minority to exert a small amount of influence over both policy and executive appointments. With the filibuster under attack, it's time we amend the U.S. Constitution to forever protect the rights of the minority."

Pallone's constitutional amendment would also require a two-thirds vote for all Senate rule changes. The Senate Republican leadership is bypassing the two-thirds rule and only requiring a majority of the Senators present this week to change the filibuster rules on judicial nominees despite the fact that even the Senate parliamentarian does not agree with their action.

In order to amend the U.S. Constitution, an amendment must be approved by a two-thirds vote in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and then ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states.

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