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Corey Robin

Today, the United States Senate voted to eliminate the filibuster for most presidential nominees. That decision does not apply to legislation or Supreme Court nominees.

Republican John McCain responded to the vote, “Now there are no rules in the United States Senate.” The Reactionary Mind at work. (Incidentally, Patrick Devlin made a similar argument in The Enforcement of Morals, which led H.L.A. Hart to remind him that a change in the rules of an order need not constitute the elimination of that order or of order as such.)

But what does the vote actually mean? As Phil Klinkner explained to me, and as this old Washington Post piece confirms, before this vote, senators representing a mere 11% of the population could block all presidential appointments and all legislation.

From now on, senators representing a mere 17% of the population can block most presidential appointments; senators representing 11% can…

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