U.S. Senator Joe Manchin is continuing his opposition to President Joe Biden’s agenda. On Monday the Democrat from West Virginia unleashed a historically inaccurate claim about the filibuster that has many enraged.
The filibuster in its current form requires much of what the Senate does to get 60 votes. Confirmation for presidential nominees, including Supreme Court justices to a lifetime appointment, however, require just a simple majority.
The 60 vote rule was implemented in 1975, not when the U.S. Constitution was adopted, and many are blasting Manchin for spreading falsehoods to promote his agenda.
“The tradition of the Senate here in 232 years now..we need to be very cautious what we do..That’s what we’ve always had for 232 years. That’s what makes us different than any place else in the world,” Manchin falsely said Monday, according to Fox News’ Chad Pergram.
“232 years ago, in 1790, a simple majority could end any debate,’ writes attorney Max Kennerly. “The current form of filibuster that Manchin is protecting—in which votes can’t happen until 60 Senators agree—didn’t exist until 1975. Hundreds of exceptions have been made to it, including one last month.”
“Up until the 20th Century, most filibusters failed,” he adds, noting ones that succeeded – which all have one thing in common:
The few successful filibusters had a theme: anti-lynching legislation in 1922, 1935, and 1938. Anti-poll-tax legislation in 1942, 1944, 1946, 1948, and 1962. Civil rights legislation in 1946, 1950, 1957, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1972, and 1975. Some tradition, huh?
— Max Kennerly (@MaxKennerly) January 11, 2022
New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait writes in response to Manchin’s falsehood, “the Founders considered, and rejected, a routine supermajority requirement.”
“The filibuster is actually not in the Constitution,” he adds.
Manchin is taking heat from experts for his “Trumpian lie,” as MSNBC’s Medhi Hasan charges:
Straight-up, deliberate, Trumpian lie here from Manchin. He knows this is false, has been told multiple times it is false, but says it anyways. https://t.co/M5MvD2L5bI
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) January 11, 2022
Economist, professor, attorney, and former U.S. Secretary of Labor:
Anybody notice that the filibuster rule was changed to allow the debt ceiling to be raised with just 51 votes? So why can’t the filibuster rule be changed to allow the passage of voting rights by just 51 votes? Manchin — Holdout-in-Chief — are you listening?
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) January 10, 2022
VOX senior correspondent and Supreme Court expert:
I would think that the fact that literally no one else in the world emulates a practice would be an argue FOR abandoning it. https://t.co/VkQQFNBW8M
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) January 10, 2022
UCLA law professor:
It must be strange and dispiriting to be one of the experts Schumer brings in to brief Senator Manchin on the filibuster (e.g. basic facts such as we have NOT had it for 232 years)…and then Manchin just goes on making the same talking points, blissfully impervious to all facts.
— Joseph Fishkin (@joeyfishkin) January 10, 2022
Political scientist, voting expert:
Let’s start a new game: Ignorant or Lying?
When a politician says something that is clearly untrue, Is it ignorance, or is it a lie?
Take Manchin on the Senate filibuster: “That’s what we’ve always had for 232 years.”
Does he really believe it? Or is he lying on purpose?
— Lee Drutman (@leedrutman) January 11, 2022
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