Joyce Appleby: Resistance to changing the pernicious rule that is stifling the will of the majority rests on a historical myth and both parties’ fear of being curtailed when they are in a minority.
Joyce Appleby: Senators are pondering partial reform of the filibuster, which is now routinely used to block Senate action. Historian Joyce Appleby suggests that if they want to bring the Senate in line with the founders’ original intent they might follow the lead of the Tea Party and go back to the beginning. In its early decades the U.S. Senate operated on the simple majority principle: no supermajorities, no filibusters.
If Sonia Sotomayer, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, joins the court she will turn its five Catholic members into a two-thirds majority. She will in fact be replacing one of the two Protestants who remained on the court. This dramatic change in the composition of the Supreme Court can be traced to the [...]