To the editor: Abbe R. Gluck claims that the loss of the filibuster is a “tragic loss for our democracy.” In fact, getting rid of the Senate filibuster will allow us to regain some of the democratic principles of our government. (“Goodbye, U.S. Senate,” Opinion, April 7)
Democracy requires that the majority legislates and governs, and the Senate is the most undemocratic part of our government. It is possible for 41 senators representing a small minority of the U.S. population to effectively shut down the government by preventing cloture.
The Affordable Care Act was not an example of bipartisan cooperation. Even though Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) voted against cloture in the Senate, she had voted for the bill to go forward in the Finance Committee and was vilified by her Republican colleagues. She went on to retire from the Senate because of the hostility of her fellow Republicans. This is hardly a democratic process.
It is time to discard the filibuster in the Senate. Let the party in power legislate and govern.
Terrence R. Dunn, Bakersfield
To the editor: I disagree with Gluck for three reasons.
First, I believe the filibuster is unconstitutional. The Constitution carefully specifies when a supermajority is required. The filibuster is not one of them.
Second, the Senate is already, structurally and undemocratically, tilted in favor of the minority. Each state, regardless of population, is allotted two senators. So Wyoming, population 585,000, has as many senators as California, population 39 million. The filibuster exacerbates this imbalance.
Third, for most of its history, the filibuster was used sparingly and rarely did harm. Then came Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), the current majority leader who, as the minority leader, shattered the long-standing norm by applying the filibuster indiscriminately, making a sham of the rule. His abuse established a destructive new norm.
The filibuster as had its ugly day. Now it must go.
Bill Blum, Studio City