Bench Memos

Poor Drafting

Examination of the actual Memorandum of Understanding embodying the deal reveals something remarkable: there is no explicit linkage between the Republicans’ promise not to support elimination of the filibuster and the Democrats’ promise to use it in the future only in “extraordinary circumstances.”.Indeed, the Memorandum goes out of its way to emphasize that extraordinary circumstances are in the eye of each individual senator, while the obligation not to go nuclear is unconditional during the 109th Congress. What this means is that if the Democrats have entered into this in bad faith, the Republicans will be severely disadvantaged in trying to enforce it. They will be in clear breach if they vote to eliminate the filibuster, but no one will ever be able to prove that the Democrats have violated their commitments in some objective way.

Aren’t there any lawyers up there in the Senate?

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