A long-shot lawsuit challenging the #Senate #filibuster rules has been tossed out by a federal judge.
In a 47-page ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan acknowledged that the "filibuster rule is an important and controversial issue...as in recent years, even the mere threat of a filibuster is powerful enough to completely forestall legislative action."
Nonetheless, as could have been predicted, Sullivan added that "this court finds itself powerless to address this issue for two independent reasons."
Specifically, Sullivan concluded the plaintiffs lacked the standing to sue, and he cited as well his assessment that "to intrude into this area would offend the separation of powers on which the Constitution rests." The judge reasoned:
"Reaching the merits of this case would require an invasion into internal Senate processes at the heart of the Senate’s constitutional prerogatives as a House of Congress, and would thus express a lack of respect for the Senate as a coordinate branch of government."
Common Cause filed the lawsuit on behalf of itself, several members of the House of Representatives and three indivudals who said they would have benefited from the so-called DREAM Act had it not been blocked by the filibuster. Erika Andiola, Celso Mireles, and Caesar Vargas, who were born in Mexico and now live in the United States, said the stalled legislation could have helped them attain legal U.S. status.
The lawsuit claimed that the filibuster, which among other things requires a vote of 60 senators to proceed with or close debate on bills, is unconstitutional because it is “inconsistent with the principle of majority rule."
In part, Sullivan observed that the plaintiffs "failed to demonstrate" that the DREAM Act immigration bill, as well as a campaign finance reform bill, would have passed if it weren't for the filibuster.