Why permit a minority of legislators to block legislation?
Government should be doing something for the people, shouldn't it. Yet that appears to be the frustrating and infuriating goal of the filibuster rule in the United States Senate, which permits unlimited debate on pending legislation in the Upper House of Congress, unless 60 Senators move to end debate by a vote of cloture)
A "Do Nothing" Government of bickering legislators who block legislation for light and transient causes strikes many voters as a disgraceful waste of time and resources.
Yet Majority Rule in a democratic republic means nothing without respect for Minority Rights, and significant minorities adversely affected by majority rule have a right to stall legislation inimical to their interests, or to the interests of the nation.
The United States Congress is set up into two chambers, the House of Representatives with representation based on population of the several states; and the Senate, whose legislators represent the states in equal measure of two Senators per state.
If one calculates the voting population, the 15 most populace states have a larger contingency of voters. If the majority of states in the Senate wished to pursue legislation adverse to the majority of Americans, then the minority of states (
with the majority of the population) have every right to block legislation inimical to their interests. This stalling procedure forces states large and small, Democratic and Republican, to craft legislation which will appeal to the near majority of Americans, in theory protecting the rights and privileges of all, including the minority states.
In the maddening rush to upend stalling procedures which draw out debate and frustrate legislative efficiency, it would do well for all such impatient partisans to heed the patient observation of Columnist George Will: "We have more to fear from Government haste than Government tardiness," a sentiment proffered long before by Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers.