But Washington, D.C. attorney Nicholas Stephanopoulos writes for The New Republic that senators might be able to seriously discuss the filibuster's fate if they did so in the context of ending it at a future date. Citing famed philosopher John Rawls, Stephanopoulos, a board member of the ACS Washington, D.C. Chapter, writes that lawmakers could tackle this debate if they did so "behind a ‘veil of ignorance.'" Senators are far too self-interested to dump the filibuster now, says Stephanopoulos, but they would likely be more objective if they debated the issue for future generations.
[image via Taskforce20]
A debate now on whether to eliminate the filibuster in the future would transform senators' decision-making calculus. The key question would no longer be whether they enjoy the personal clout conferred by the filibuster, or whether it advances or threatens their parties' agendas. The issues, instead, would be whether it makes sense for almost all Senate business to require a supermajority, whether 40 senators representing as little as 10 percent of the population should be able to block a bill, and whether the Constitution's many checks and balances should be supplemented by yet another procedural obstacle. Many more senators likely would say no if self-interest and partisan advantage were, for the most part, removed from the equation.