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On April 24, 1953, Senator Morse began to filibuster against Tidelands Oil legislation. He kept floor for 22 hours and 26 minutes, breaking filibuster record of 18 hours held by his mentor, Wisconsin Senator Robert La Follette.
Senator Morse is remembered through numerous colorful stories. For example, Clare Booth Luce, former U.S. Senator and Ambassador to Italy had to resign her appointment when she made insulting but funny remark that her problems with Senator Morse began when he was kicked in head by a horse.
Senator Strom Thurmond
About 9 p.m. on August 28, 1957, Senator Strom Thurmond rose before Senate and announced, "Mr. President, I rise to speak against so-called voting rights bill, H.R. 6127." His own staff had not been informed about Senator Thurmond's intentions to filibuster bill, but they knew something was up when they saw Thurmond gathering considerable reading material.
Senator Thurmond had prepared himself for a long filibuster on Senate floor. Earlier in day he had spent time in Senate steam room, dehydrating himself so that he would absorb all water he drank without having to visit restroom. His wife packed a steak sandwich lunch for him and she stayed in family gallery throughout night. Thurmond brought a quantity of malted milk tablets and throat lozenges from his office.
Senator Thurmond began his filibuster by reading each state's election statutes. He later read and discussed an opinion by Chief Justice Taft. He also read and discussed Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and Washington's Farewell Address. His staff, concerned for Senator Thurmond's health, was finally successful in getting him to leave floor.
After 24 hours and 18 minutes, a record that still stands, Senator Thurmond concluded his remarks with, "I expect to vote against bill." The bill was defeated.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964
On June 10, 1964, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia finished his address begun on previous day, slightly more than 14 hours earlier. He filibustered against Civil Rights Act of 1964, an act which was debated by Byrd and others for 57 working days, including 6 Saturdays.
Senate President Hubert Humphrey from Minnesota needed 67 votes to be able to carry motion for cloture. Minority Leader Senator Everett Dirksen, always eloquent senator from Illinois procured Republican votes necessary to pass cloture motion. "Stronger than all armies is an idea whose time has come," he said. "The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing in government, in education, and in employment. It will not be stayed or denied. It is here!"
The final roll call vote on cloture resulted in 71 votes in favor and 29 votes opposed. It was first time in history that cloture had been invoked on civil rights legislation. The 1964 Civil Rights Act was most sweeping of its kind in our history.
Justice Abe Fortas
In June of 1968 Chief Justice Earl Warren notified President Lyndon Johnson that he would be retiring from Supreme Court. This move gave President Johnson time to nominate a successor since he was not planning to seek re-election as President. Johnson nominated Associate Justice Abe Fortas to replace Warren. At same time Johnson nominated Texas Appeals Court Justice Homer Thornberry to replace Fortas, a move that was designed to satisfy southern senators.
President Johnson counted on Senators Everett Dirksen and Richard Russell for their support of nomination. When Abe Fortas testified at his own confirmation hearing, an unprecedented occurrence, it was revealed that Fortas worked uncomfortably closely with White House staff and President. Later it was learned that Fortas was being paid a large sum, privately, to teach an American University summer course. At this point Dirksen, Russell, and other senators withdrew their support.
Though committee recommended confirmation of Justice Abe Fortas, a filibuster ensued on Senate floor to block his confirmation, first filibuster in Senate history on a Supreme Court nomination. On October 1, 1968, Senate was unable to tally 67 votes needed to invoke cloture and President Johnson withdrew nomination.
The use of filibuster has increased from 16 filibusters in 19th century to 66 in first half of 20th century to 195 in period from 1970 to 1995. It is likely that filibuster will continue to play an important role in American political process.
Garry Gamber is a public school teacher. He writes articles about politics, real estate, health and nutrition, and internet dating services. He is a founding member of http://www.GoodPoliticsRadio.com and the owner of http://www.TheDatingAdvisor.com