Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com,
Speaking at the funeral of Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) in May, 2020, former President Barack Obama called for the elimination of the Senate filibuster, which he maligned as “another Jim Crow relic.” During his four years in the Senate, Obama himself used that Jim Crow relic on two dozen occasions to block the Republican majority from bringing various bills to a floor vote.President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris speak to the American people about constitutional voting rights in Atlanta, GA, on January, 11, 2022 United States. (Photo by Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
In 2005, Obama's second year in the Senate, Republicans — furious that Senate Democrats were using the filibuster to block President Bush's judicial appointments — proposed the "nuclear option” to eliminate the 60-vote requirement for judicial appointments. In response, the junior Senator from Illinois took to the floor of the Senate and delivered one of his trademarked impassioned speeches in defense of this Jim Crow relic, railing against the unfairness of “one party, be it Republican or Democrat … chang[ing] the rules in the middle of the game so they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet.” He also heralded the importance of the 6o-vote requirement in the Senate for protecting the rights of the minority party: “If the right of free and open debate is taken away from the minority party and the millions of Americans who ask us to be their voice, I fear the partisan atmosphere in Washington will be poisoned to the point where no one will be able to agree on anything.”
Filibuster hypocrisy of this sort is the norm in Washington. In 2017, when Senate Democrats were in the minority under President Trump, 32 of them signed a letter urging that the filibuster be...