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Filibustering in the U.S. Senate By Lauren C. Bell

Chapter 1:  Introduction
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Filibustering in the U.S. Senate

Chapter 1

Introduction

On an otherwise normal day in mid-June 1935, Louisiana senator Huey P. Long rose from his desk in the Senate. It was lunchtime, and as he looked around, he would likely have noted that the visitors’ galleries were full of visiting Shriners—a ready audience. Long, who enjoyed both getting publicity for himself and annoying the president, announced that he would be opposing an extension of the Roosevelt administration's National Recovery Act. He then proceeded to spend the next few hours raising objections to the act. As he himself observed, most of his colleagues in the Senate were paying little attention. Long was known for these sorts of theatrics, and his colleagues were likely reluctant to acknowledge—and thereby encourage—him.

In mid-afternoon, Long (having already exhausted his objections to the act) announced that he would read the Constitution—aloud. By all accounts he did so slowly and dramatically, pausing periodically to offer commentary about certain clauses and provisions. The clock crept on toward the dinner hour, and Long entered into a soliloquy on cooking oysters and the recipe for “pot-likker,” at one point making the controversial