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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

statement that “corn pone” should be dunked and not crumbled into it. As the evening progressed, Long read from the Bible and the Supreme Court's decision in the Schecter Poultry Co. v. United States case. Long's colleagues taunted him and urged him to give up. As the clock rounded midnight, members of the press in the gallery sent suggestions of discussion topics to the floor. A few minutes before 4:00 a.m., Long's bladder forced him to surrender, and he quietly yielded the floor (Clift 2003; The Congress: Feet to Fire, 1935). In its issue following Long's filibuster, Time magazine summed up his performance this way:

In 15½ hours he had filled 85 pages of the Congressional Record at a cost of $4,500. While on his feet he had consumed a pound and a half of grapes, half a pound of American cheese, 15 glasses of milk. He had set a record for one-man filibusters second only to the 18-hour and 23-minute performance of the late great Robert Marion La Follette on the Aldrich-Vreeland currency bill in 1908. And, at the hands of a determined little group of Democratic neophytes, he had lost his last shred of standing with his fellow Senators. (The Congress: Feet to Fire, 1935)

There are few, if any, legislative procedures that garner as much attention from the press and the pundits as does the Senate filibuster. The filibuster has been dramatized in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and was epitomized by Strom Thurmond's epic 25-hour effort against the 1957 Civil Rights bill. And it has been wrangled over in debates about using the “nuclear option” to expedite federal judicial confirmations. Filibusters have captured journalists’ interests due to their high political drama, their deviation from the principle of majority rule expected of democratic institutions, the important issues that are often at stake, and the colorful individuals leading these dilatory maneuvers. Filibusters are waged for political reasons and as matters of principle. They bring out both the best and the worst of their leaders and sometimes even reveal hidden hobbies or talents. Former New York senator Alfonse D’Amato's one-man effort to stave job losses from a New York typewriter factory to Mexico in 1992, for example, included the performance of at least two songs; the New York Times wrote that it was “somewhere between