Action Alert from United Church of Christ Justice & Witness Ministries
For over two hundred years, our nation has functioned with a system of checks and balances, so that no one person or political party can hold total control over the government. Among our democracy's oldest and most important checks on the power of the majority is the Senate filibuster rule. The rule allows 41 or more senators to stop legislation or nominations that they strongly oppose. A final vote can be taken only if 60 senators vote to end the filibuster. The filibuster rule protects the rights of the minority and promotes compromise.
This important democratic protection could be lost if the Senate majority leadership acts on its threats to exercise what is called the "nuclear option." The "nuclear option," so named because it is an extreme departure from Senate rules, is actually a series of procedural steps that would be taken to eliminate the filibuster. It would most likely be set in motion by an attempt to filibuster on a judicial nomination, which could come at any time during the next several weeks.
By a nearly two to one margin, Americans across party affiliations believe this important check and balance on power should be maintained. A diverse group of organizations and individuals from all sides of the political spectrum recognize the importance of protecting the rights of the minority and have declared their opposition to the "nuclear option."
Rep. John Lewis, a renowned civil rights advocate, has remarked, "Our nation has been made stronger, more just, more fair, more true to its own destiny through the voices of those who have spoken in opposition. We do not want the voices of dissent to be stamped out in the U.S. Senate, because we know it may be the minority that saves us from ourselves."
Contact your senators and urge them to oppose any effort to eliminate the filibuster. To send a fax or e-mail message to your senators, click here.