March 25, 2021

The filibuster’s racist history, explained

“You start to see civil rights bills pass the House in the 1920s, and it was consistently used to block them,” says Adam Jentleson, a former aide to Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and the author of Kill Switch (a history of the filibuster and Senate dysfunction). “If there was any ambiguity in the antebellum era, it certainly shed that during the Jim Crow era — where it was widely taken for granted that the filibuster was directly tied to [blocking] civil rights.”