What Is The Filibuster All About?

Written by Garry Gamber

The filibuster has been a tool available to U.S. Senators during Senate floor discussions on legislation and appointments sincerepparttar U.S. Constitution was ratified. Bothrepparttar 136180 Democratic and Republican parties have valuedrepparttar 136181 filibuster as a means to bring compromise and bipartisanship to bitter and divisive debates.

The word, filibuster, as it applies torepparttar 136182 American political process refers to a political delaying tactic such as a long speech used by politicians to delay or preventrepparttar 136183 passage of legislation. The older meaning of filibuster refers torepparttar 136184 illegal act of plundering or piracy; of capturing a ship and its cargo and holding it for ransom.

The etymology ofrepparttar 136185 word, filibuster, seems to date back to about 1560-1570 whenrepparttar 136186 English anglicizedrepparttar 136187 Dutch word, vrijbutier, into freebooter. A freebooter is understood to be a person who goes in search of plunder; a pirate, a buccaneer. Shortly thereafter,repparttar 136188 French adopted filibustier andrepparttar 136189 Spanish adopted filibustero to meanrepparttar 136190 same thing. Inrepparttar 136191 17th centuryrepparttar 136192 English transformedrepparttar 136193 Spanish word into filibuster to describerepparttar 136194 actions ofrepparttar 136195 pirates who attackedrepparttar 136196 Spanish explorers ofrepparttar 136197 New World. Inrepparttar 136198 1800’srepparttar 136199 Americans popularizedrepparttar 136200 word filibuster, referring torepparttar 136201 activities of famous pirates operating in Latin America andrepparttar 136202 Caribbean.

Filibuster as Piracy

From 1830 to 1860repparttar 136203 countries of Cuba, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua were all victims of various filibuster campaigns. The filibusters were led by groups of adventurers who, withoutrepparttar 136204 consent ofrepparttar 136205 American Government, but withrepparttar 136206 aid of private American finance, tried to seize political power in these Latin American and Caribbean countries. Part ofrepparttar 136207 aim ofrepparttar 136208 filibuster campaigns was to empowerrepparttar 136209 population of these countries and bring forth a revolution that would be beneficial to American interests, mainlyrepparttar 136210 slave trade.

Financial support forrepparttar 136211 filibusters came largely fromrepparttar 136212 southern states where parades of celebration were held in their honor and songs were written about their adventures. Officially,repparttar 136213 U.S. did not supportrepparttar 136214 filibuster campaigns becauserepparttar 136215 military was spread too thin to be able to provide adequate enforcement ofrepparttar 136216 laws againstrepparttar 136217 involvement. Many citizens sawrepparttar 136218 campaigns as an aspect of “manifest destiny,”repparttar 136219 idea that America had a right to unlimited expansion.

A couple of famous filibusterers include Narciso Lopez and William Walker. Lopez liberated Venezuela from Spanish rule and attempted three times to liberate Cuba. Walker, from Tennessee, annexed parts of Mexico, including Lower California, and declared himself to be president. The U.S. government did not support Walker and eventually brought him to trial.

The era ofrepparttar 136220 Filibuster Movement ended whenrepparttar 136221 U.S. Civil War started. Attention and resources were given torepparttar 136222 defense ofrepparttar 136223 North andrepparttar 136224 South, endingrepparttar 136225 efforts ofrepparttar 136226 filibuster campaigns.

Filibuster as a Political Tool

Duringrepparttar 136227 period from 1840 to 1860, numerous Southern politicians made long speeches during Senate floor debates on legislation bills forrepparttar 136228 purpose of delayingrepparttar 136229 bill or preventing a vote onrepparttar 136230 bill. The word filibuster was borrowed to describe these speeches, which were thought of as piracy of time and opportunity. Henry Clay, in 1841, gave what is considered to berepparttar 136231 first filibuster speech.

Asrepparttar 136232 debate overrepparttar 136233 slavery issue became more important in Congress, southern politicians usedrepparttar 136234 tactic of long dilatory speeches to block all civil rights legislation. The word filibuster became popularized during this pre-Civil War period.

Legislative Rules

The U.S. Constitution did not give direction torepparttar 136235 House of Representatives or torepparttar 136236 Senate regarding how to conduct everyday business and how to conduct debates onrepparttar 136237 floor. Each body was expected to create and adopt their own rules.

On day 2 ofrepparttar 136238 first Senate meeting a special committee was created to "prepare a system of rules for conducting business." A few days later, on April 7, 1789,repparttar 136239 special committee filed their first rules report and on April 16, 1789,repparttar 136240 Senate adopted their first set of rules. The first set contained 19 rules and on April 18 number 20 was adopted. At this pointrepparttar 136241 special committee was disbanded.

The rules committee was recreated on several occasions during succeeding years forrepparttar 136242 purpose of creating new rules or revising existing rules. Since 1789 there have been 7 adoptions of new or revised rules; in 1806, 1820, 1828, 1877, 1884, and 1979. Some rules have been amended and passed byrepparttar 136243 Senate without going to a committee. The change to Rule XXII in 1917 to provide for a cloture procedure is a good example. There currently are a total of 43 Standing Rules ofrepparttar 136244 Senate.

The House Rules and Manual ofrepparttar 136245 U.S. House of Representatives does not allow for filibuster speeches. Each Representative is allowed to holdrepparttar 136246 floor to debate a question for one hour and may only speak once on each question. The House is a large body andrepparttar 136247 members thought it wise to limitrepparttar 136248 amount of time that a Representative may speak.

The Senate is an entirely different situation, however.

Senate Rule XIX

Rule XIX isrepparttar 136249 key rule that provides a structure for debate onrepparttar 136250 Senate floor. A key provision ofrepparttar 136251 rule states that when a Senator rises to seek recognition during floor debate, he or she is guaranteed a chance to speak onrepparttar 136252 question for as long as he or she wishes. The presiding officer is not given discretion in this matter and must recognize each Senator in order. Duringrepparttar 136253 period of time that a recognized Senator is speakingrepparttar 136254 question beforerepparttar 136255 Senate cannot come to a vote. The Senator cannot be interrupted or be forced to stop their speech without their consent.

Another Federal Whistleblower -- Is Anyone Listening?

Written by Teresa Chambers

The plight of whistleblowers – those employees who soundrepparttar alarm about anything from dangerous conditions inrepparttar 136068 workplace to missed or ignored intelligence regarding our nation’s security – is a story that seems to grow stronger and with more frequency every day. My guess is that those stories have always been there; I suspect I am just paying closer attention to them now.

You see, I joinedrepparttar 136069 “ranks” of whistleblowers more than one year ago when, on December 2, 2003, a major newspaper printed a story in which I confirmed for them what many of us already knew – we,repparttar 136070 members ofrepparttar 136071 United States Park Police, could no longer providerepparttar 136072 level of service that citizens and visitors had grown to expect in our parks and on our parkways in Washington, D.C., New York City, and San Francisco. The world changed for all of us on September 11, 2001, andrepparttar 136073 expectations of police agencies acrossrepparttar 136074 country grew exponentially overnight. Asrepparttar 136075 Chief ofrepparttar 136076 United States Park Police, an organization responsible for some of America’s most valued and recognizable symbols of freedom, I knew it was my duty, as chiefs of police acrossrepparttar 136077 country do every day, to informrepparttar 136078 community ofrepparttar 136079 realities ofrepparttar 136080 situation.

For being candid -- for being "honest" -- while still being supportive of my superiors, I was, without warning, stripped of my law enforcement authority, badge, and firearm, and escorted fromrepparttar 136081 Department ofrepparttar 136082 Interior by armed special agents of another Federal law enforcement entity in December of 2003. Seven months later,repparttar 136083 Department ofrepparttar 136084 Interior terminated me.

Frighteningly,repparttar 136085 issues I brought to light about our citizens' and visitors' safety and security andrepparttar 136086 future of these American icons have not been addressed -- other than to silence me. In fact, there are fewer United States Park Police Officers today than there were more than one year ago when I was sent home for daring to say that we weren't able to properly meet our commitments with existing resources. Other security concerns I raised internally have also gone un-addressed.

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