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    Judge Sullivan Takes Control of Asylum Law

    Judge Sullivan Takes Control of Asylum Law


    By Andrew R. Arthur on December 21, 2018




    On Monday, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order in Grace v. Whitaker, permanently enjoining certain credible-fear policies that were contained in then-Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions' decision in Matter of A-B- (which I detailed in a June 13, 2018, post), as well as in a policy memorandum issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) implementing that decision (which I analyzed in a July 2018 post). This decision, which was a result that Congress never intended when it explicitly limited the jurisdiction of courts in expedited-removal cases, will have far-reaching consequences beyond what I believe even Judge Sullivan ever likely envisioned.


    First, it is important to note that Matter of A-B- did not involve credible fear at all, at least not directly. As I explained in a June 2018 post:

    In Matter of A-B-, the attorney general returned to fundamental issues of asylum law, including what "persecution" is, how a "particular social group" is defined, and the requirement that there be a "nexus" between the social group identified and the persecution that was purportedly inflicted or is feared.


    At issue there was a claim for asylum by a Salvadoran national who had entered the United States illegally. She asserted that she was eligible for asylum because she had been persecuted on account of her membership in what she described as the particular social group of "'El Salvadoran women who were unable to leave domestic relationships because they have children in common with their partners."


    The immigration judge who heard that application denied it in December 2015 on four separate grounds: First, that the applicant was not credible because of discrepancies and omissions in her testimony. Second, that the proposed group did not qualify as a "particular social group" for purposes of section 101(a)(42)(A) of the INA. Third, that even if that group did satisfy that standard, the applicant failed to show "that her membership in that social group was a central reason for her persecution." Fourth, that the applicant had failed to show that the Salvadoran government "was unable or unwilling to help her."


    The [Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)] reversed that decision in December 2016. First, the BIA concluded that the immigration judge's credibility determination was "clearly erroneous". Second, the BIA found that the particular social group in question was "substantially similar" to a group recognized by the BIA as meriting asylum in Matter of A-R-C-G-, specifically "married women in Guatemala who were unable to leave their relationship". In addition, the BIA held "the immigration judge clearly erred in finding that the respondent could leave her ex-husband," and further, that the applicant "established that her ex-husband persecuted her because of her status as a Salvadoran woman unable to leave her domestic relationship." The BIA finally concluded "the El Salvadoran government was unwilling or unable to protect" the applicant.
    The attorney general vacated that decision, and remanded it to the immigration judge.

    See? No credible fear. The alien in that case was a respondent in removal proceedings who was applying for asylum. Credible fear is an associated, but different process that can lead to the filing of an asylum application in a removal proceeding, but not always. In an April 2017 Backgroundercaptioned "Fraud in the 'Credible Fear' Process, Threats to the Integrity of the Asylum System", I explained the expedited-removal and credible-fear processes:

    A credible fear request is a precondition to filing a defensive asylum application for an alien in expedited removal proceedings under section 235(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). That section of the INA allows immigration officers — rather than judges — to order the deportation of aliens who have failed to establish that they have been in the United States continuously for two years and who have been charged with inadmissibility under section 212(a)(6)(c) (fraud or misrepresentation) and/or section 212(a)(7) (no documentation) of the INA. DHS has expanded its use of expedited removal over the years.


    The most common instance in which DHS uses expedited removal is when it apprehends (1) an alien seeking admission without a proper entry document at a port of entry; or (2) an alien who is attempting to enter or who has entered illegally along the border. If the alien asserts a fear of persecution, the arresting officer will refer the alien to an asylum officer for a "credible fear interview". If the asylum officer determines that the alien has a credible fear, the alien is placed in removal proceedings before an immigration judge, where the alien can file his or her application for asylum.


    Under section 235(b)(1)(B)(v) of the INA, "the term 'credible fear of persecution' means that there is a significant possibility, taking into account the credibility of the statements made by the alien in support of the alien's claim and such other facts as are known to the officer, that the alien could establish eligibility for asylum under section 208."

    Credible-fear determinations are made by asylum officers within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), not immigration judges within the Department of Justice (DOJ). Because Matter of A-B-addresses the standards for the granting of asylum, and because the credible-fear standard is based on the possibility that an alien in expedited removal proceedings could be eligible for asylum, Matter of A-B- has an effect on credible fear, but not a direct one.


    How is it possible that the AG in DOJ could make a decision that is binding on an asylum officer in USCIS? Section 103(a)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) delineates between the powers of the secretary of Homeland Security and the AG as those powers relate to immigration:

    The Secretary of Homeland Security shall be charged with the administration and enforcement of this chapter and all other laws relating to the immigration and naturalization of aliens, except insofar as this chapter or such laws relate to the powers, functions, and duties conferred upon the President, Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the officers of the Department of State, or diplomatic or consular officers: Provided, however, That determination and ruling by the Attorney General with respect to all questions of law shall be controlling. [Emphasis added.]

    So, Congress makes the immigration laws, the AG interprets those laws, and the Secretary of Homeland Security applies those laws, the latter two generally through subordinates. Except for when judges do all three, as Judge Sullivan did in Grace.


    With respect to subordinates, the AG usually leaves it up to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to make determinations and rulings with respect to questions of law, including interpretation of the asylum statutes. Specifically, under 8 C.F.R. § 1003.1(g):

    Decisions as precedents. Except as Board decisions may be modified or overruled by the Board or the Attorney General, decisions of the Board, and decisions of the Attorney General, shall be binding on all officers and employees of the Department of Homeland Security or immigration judges in the administration of the immigration laws of the United States. By majority vote of the permanent Board members, selected decisions of the Board rendered by a three-member panel or by the Board en banc may be designated to serve as precedents in all proceedings involving the same issue or issues. Selected decisions designated by the Board, decisions of the Attorney General, and decisions of the Secretary of Homeland Security to the extent authorized in paragraph (i) of this section, shall serve as precedents in all proceedings involving the same issue or issues.

    The AG, however, has not delegated all of his authority under section 103 of the INA to the BIA. Rather, under 8 C.F.R. § 1003.1(h), the AG, using his certification authority, may direct the BIA to refer cases to him for review, which he did in Matter of A-B-.


    Which brings us back to Judge Sullivan's opinion in Grace. In most cases, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia does not have jurisdiction over immigration cases. That is because pursuant to section 242(b)(2) of the INA, jurisdiction over petitions for review from BIA decisions are to be "filed with the court of appeals for the judicial circuit in which the immigration judge completed the proceedings," and there are no immigration courts in the District of Columbia. There are a few specific exceptions, however, where the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has sole authority to make decisions. One of those exceptions relates to expedited removal.


    Specifically, section 242(a)(2)(A) of the INA states:

    REVIEW RELATING TO SECTION 235(b)(1) .-Notwithstanding any other provision of law (statutory or nonstatutory), including section 2241 of title 28, United States Code, or any other habeas corpus provision, and sections 1361 and 1651 of such title, no court shall have jurisdiction to review-


    (i) except as provided in subsection (e), any individual determination or to entertain any other cause or claim arising from or relating to the implementation or operation of an order of removal pursuant to [the expedited-removal procedures in] section 235(b)(1),


    (ii) except as provided in subsection (e), a decision by the Attorney General to invoke the provisions of such section,
    (iii) the application of such section to individual aliens, including the determination made under section 235(b)(1)(B), or
    (iv) except as provided in subsection (e), procedures and policies adopted by the Attorney General to implement the provisions of section 235(b)(1) .

    The provision referenced in section 242(a)(2)(A)(iii) of the INA above, section 235(b)(1)(B) of the INA, is the credible-fear provision. If that is the case, then section 242(e) of the INA must be pretty broad, right, if it gave Judge Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia jurisdiction over the AG's decision in Matter of A-B-, such that he could enjoin portions of that decision? Actually, no. In fact, that provision is extremely restrictive:

    Judicial Review of Orders Under Section 235(b)(1) .-
    (1) Limitations on relief.-Without regard to the nature of the action or claim and without regard to the identity of the party or parties bringing the action, no court may-
    (A) enter declaratory, injunctive, or other equitable relief in any action pertaining to an order to exclude an alien in accordance with section 235(b)(1) except as specifically authorized in a subsequent paragraph of this subsection, or
    (B) certify a class under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in any action for which judicial review is authorized under a subsequent paragraph of this subsection.
    (2) Habeas corpus proceedings.-Judicial review of any determination made under section 235(b)(1) is available in habeas corpus proceedings, but shall be limited to determinations of-
    (A) whether the petitioner is an alien,
    (B) whether the petitioner was ordered removed under such section, and
    (C) whether the petitioner can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the petitioner is an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, has been admitted as a refugee under section 207, or has been granted asylum under section 208, such status not having been terminated, and is entitled to such further inquiry as prescribed by the Attorney General pursuant to section 235(b)(1)(C) .
    (3) Challenges on validity of the system.-
    (A) In general.-Judicial review of determinations under section 235(b) and its implementation is available in an action instituted in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, but shall be limited to determinations of-
    (i) whether such section, or any regulation issued to implement such section, is constitutional; or
    (ii) whether such a regulation, or a written policy directive, written policy guideline, or written procedure issued by or under the authority of the Attorney General to implement such section, is not consistent with applicable provisions of this title or is otherwise in violation of law.
    (B) Deadlines for bringing actions.-Any action instituted under this paragraph must be filed no later than 60 days after the date the challenged section, regulation, directive, guideline, or procedure described in clause (i) or (ii) of subparagraph (A) is first implemented.
    (C) Notice of appeal.-A notice of appeal of an order issued by the District Court under this paragraph may be filed not later than 30 days after the date of issuance of such order.
    (D) Expeditious consideration of cases.-It shall be the duty of the District Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States to advance on the docket and to expedite to the greatest possible extent the disposition of any case considered under this paragraph.
    (4) Decision.-In any case where the court determines that the petitioner-
    (A) is an alien who was not ordered removed under section 235(b)(1), or
    (B) has demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that the alien is an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, has been admitted as a refugee under section 207, or has been granted asylum under section 208 , the court may order no remedy or relief other than to require that the petitioner be provided a hearing in accordance with section 240. Any alien who is provided a hearing under section 240 pursuant to this paragraph may thereafter obtain judicial review of any resulting final order of removal pursuant to subsection (a)(1).
    (5) Scope of inquiry.-In determining whether an alien has been ordered removed under section 235(b)(1), the court's inquiry shall be limited to whether such an order in fact was issued and whether it relates to the petitioner. There shall be no review of whether the alien is actually inadmissible or entitled to any relief from removal. [Emphasis added.]

    The expedited removal provisions in section 235(b) of the INA were added to the INA by section 302 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) . Sections 242(a)(2)(A) and (e) of the INA were added by section 306 of IIRIRA. As the conference report for IIRIRA states:

    Section 242(e)(3) provides for limited judicial review of the validity of procedures under section 235(b)(1). This limited provision for judicial review does not extend to determinations of credible fear and removability in the case of individual aliens, which are not reviewable.Section 242(e)(3) provides that judicial review is available only in an action instituted in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and is limited to whether section 235(b)(1), or any regulations issued pursuant to that section, is constitutional, or whether the regulations, or a written policy directive, written policy guidance, or written procedures issued by the Attorney General are consistent with the INA or other law. Any action seeking such review must be filed within 60 days of the implementation of the regulations, directive, guidance, or procedures. [Emphasis added.]

    Matter of A-B-
    was not a written policy directive, written policy guidance, or written procedures to implement the expedited removal provision, and as noted, it did not deal with credible fear. That it was applicable to credible fear was simply because the INA and regulations, as stated above, give the AG the authority over all questions of law, and makes his decisions binding, with limited exceptions, over all immigration officers In the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as well as DOJ. As the government argued, it was "an adjudication that determined the rights and duties of the parties to a dispute."


    Nonetheless, Judge Sullivan concluded that the court had jurisdiction to review Matter of A-B- under section 242(e)(3) of the INA. Specifically, he noted portions of that decision where the AG referenced credible fear, holding:

    Because the Attorney General cited [section 235(b) of the INA] and the standard for credible fear determinations when articulating the new general standard, the court finds that Matter of A-B- implements [section 235(b) of the INA] within the meaning of [section 242(e)(3) of the INA].

    He also rejected the government's argument that Matter of A-B- was an adjudication, not a policy, finding that it was "well-settled that an 'administrative agency can, of course, make legal-policy through rulemaking or by adjudication.'" He held:

    Matter of A-B- is a sweeping opinion in which the Attorney General made clear that asylum officers must apply the standards set forth to subsequent credible fear determinations.

    As noted above, it was not actually necessary for the AG to do so, because his opinion was effective in credible fear proceedings as a matter of law.


    Further, he rejected the government's argument that it is the secretary of Homeland Security, and not the attorney general, who is responsible for implementing most of the expedited removal provisions in section 235 of the INA, and that the AG "lacks the requisite authority to implement" that section, such that Matter of A-B- "cannot be 'issued by or under the authority of the attorney general to implement'" section 235(b) of the INA. He did so on the slim reed that "immigration judges who review negative credible fear determinations [working for the AG] were also required to apply Matter of A-B-." Notwithstanding this incredibly minor role for DOJ in the credible-fear process, Judge Sullivan held: "Therefore, the Attorney General clearly plays a significant role in the credible fear determination process and has the authority to 'implement'" section 235.


    He concluded:

    Finally, the Court recognizes that even if the jurisdictional issue was a close call, which it is not, several principles persuade the Court that jurisdiction exists to hear plaintiffs' claims. First, there is the "familiar proposition that only upon a showing of clear and convincing evidence of a contrary legislative intent should the courts restrict access to judicial review." ... Here, there is no clear and convincing evidence of legislative intent in section [242 of the INA] that Congress intended to limit judicial review of the plaintiffs' claims. To the contrary, Congress has explicitly provided this Court with jurisdiction to review systemic challenges to section [235(b) of the INA].

    This is an incredible statement in light of the significant limitations Congress has placed on judicial review of expedited-removal proceedings.


    He continued:

    Second, there is also a "strong presumption in favor of judicial review of administrative action." ... As the Supreme Court has recently explained, "legal lapses and violations occur, and especially so when they have no consequence. That is why [courts have for] so long applied a strong presumption favoring judicial review of administrative action." ... Plaintiffs challenge the credible fear policies under the APA and therefore this "strong presumption" applies in this case.

    Again, there is a strong presumption in favor of judicial review of administrative action, except for when Congress says there isn't. Here, a significant portion of section 242 of the INA, which governs all judicial review of orders of removal, is dedicated to limiting the ability of courts to review expedited-removal cases.
    He further stated: "Third, statutory ambiguities in immigration laws are resolved in favor of the alien. ... Here, any doubt as to whether [section 242(e)(3) of the INA] applies to plaintiffs' claims should be resolved in favor of plaintiffs." Respectfully, under this standard as applied, respondents would never lose any immigration case.


    Having found that he had the authority in section 242(e)(3) of the INA to review the AG's order in Matter of A-B-, he concluded that certain credible fear policies therein violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) because they were arbitrary and capricious and violated the INA because they were contrary to law.


    Under the expansive jurisdictional standard announced by Judge Sullivan, any precedential decision by the BIA or AG relating to asylum could be subject to review by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia under section 242(e)(3) of the INA in any case brought by any alien who had been denied a finding of credible fear in accordance with that decision, because that decision would, by operation of law, have an effect on credible-fear determinations.


    That was the opposite of the intent of Congress in providing for expedited procedures for the removal of aliens seeking to enter or who had entered illegally without proper documents. DOJ must appeal, and the circuit court must restore the authority of the court to its proper limited role in expedited removal proceedings on review.




    https://cis.org/Arthur/Judge-Sulliva...rol-Asylum-Law
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Yeah, well, Trump fixed him with Trump's deal with Mexico, and there aren't going to be any more "asylum-seekers".
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    Senior Member stoptheinvaders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    Yeah, well, Trump fixed him with Trump's deal with Mexico, and there aren't going to be any more "asylum-seekers".



    Please don't mislead those reading here with ---"there won't be any more asylum seekers".
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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    There won't be any more asylum seekers coming into our country through Mexico. That's the way I see it and I'm sticking with it.

    Hey, how's that 51 Senate vote going for you?
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    Senior Member stoptheinvaders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    There won't be any more asylum seekers coming into our country through Mexico. That's the way I see it and I'm sticking with it.

    Hey, how's that 51 Senate vote going for you?
    Perhaps you should read the news, or have you picked up Trump's habit of "they're not coming in"?

    The 51 vote would work if we didn't have R's in Congress who are D's in disguise, but hey let's elect more people just as long as they are running as a R according to you.
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    MW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    There won't be any more asylum seekers coming into our country through Mexico. That's the way I see it and I'm sticking with it.

    Hey, how's that 51 Senate vote going for you?
    Perhaps it's time to slip those rose-colored glasses off.

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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stoptheinvaders View Post
    Perhaps you should read the news, or have you picked up Trump's habit of "they're not coming in"?

    The 51 vote would work if we didn't have R's in Congress who are D's in disguise, but hey let's elect more people just as long as they are running as a R according to you.
    So it's not working out for you is it? I didn't think it would.

    There's only 1 way to pass legislation in the United States Congress and that is to have the votes you need to pass the bill. If you don't have the votes, and can't get them, then you will not pass the bill. It's very simple. It's all about the votes. Votes, Votes, Votes. And in the US Senate, you need 60 votes to pass a bill, because you need 60 votes to end debate to vote on it. It's been that way since 1975 when Democrats lowered it to 60. From 1917 until 1975, you needed 67.

    And if you want to pass legislation, then it's your responsibility as "we the people" to elect people to office who will vote for the legislation you want in large enough numbers to pass the bills. When you fail to do that, it's no one's but yours.

    It's not Trump's fault Congress refuses to fund the wall, it's not Republicans fault either. It's DemoQuacks' fault entirely. That is just a fact. In 2 weeks, DemoQuacks will control the US House of Representatives, because that is what "we the people" majority of voters decided they wanted.
    Last edited by Judy; 12-22-2018 at 02:25 AM.
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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MW View Post
    Perhaps it's time to slip those rose-colored glasses off.

    We'll see how it works out. I think it's going to shut down all this phony asylum-seeking business through Mexico and work out very very well.
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    Senior Member stoptheinvaders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    So it's not working out for you is it? I didn't think it would.

    There's only 1 way to pass legislation in the United States Congress and that is to have the votes you need to pass the bill. If you don't have the votes, and can't get them, then you will not pass the bill. It's very simple. It's all about the votes. Votes, Votes, Votes. And in the US Senate, you need 60 votes to pass a bill, because you need 60 votes to end debate to vote on it. It's been that way since 1975 when Democrats lowered it to 60. From 1917 until 1975, you needed 67.

    And if you want to pass legislation, then it's your responsibility as "we the people" to elect people to office who will vote for the legislation you want in large enough numbers to pass the bills. When you fail to do that, it's no one's but yours.

    It's not Trump's fault Congress refuses to fund the wall, it's not Republicans fault either. It's DemoQuacks' fault entirely. That is just a fact. In 2 weeks, DemoQuacks will control the US House of Representatives, because that is what "we the people" majority of voters decided they wanted.

    Trump doesn’t need 60 Senate votes to fix the border and short-circuit a shutdown

    Don’t we need 60 votes to pass this, you might ask? The answer is very simple. If McConnell and his colleagues actually used the Senate rules and fought for our sovereignty with the same vigor with which they fight for Supreme Court justices, the border wall could prevail.

    There is a big misconception that it takes 60 votes to pass anything in the Senate. That is not true. The reality is that the majority party controls the “chair,” aka presiding officer, and the majority gets to rule on motions with simple majority votes. A bill can also be passed with a simple majority, eventually. Where the 60-vote threshold comes into play is only if Democrats choose to hold the floor and continuously engage in debate. To shut off debate without any tedious brinkmanship, yes, it takes 60 votes (or procedural unanimous consent) to proceed to the bill. However, given that this is the end of the line for GOP trifecta control, there is no greater issue than border security, and Democrats will be made to look like the ultimate obstructionists on behalf of illegal aliens and drug cartels, isn’t it worth it to finally force them to engage in a talking filibuster until they relent?

    Here’s how it works.

    Senators don’t need unanimous consent to bring up a bill. The lack of unanimous consent or 60 votes doesn’t table a bill. It’s just that opposing senators in the minority can request to be recognized and continuously hold the floor. In recent years, majority parties have never made the minority do that. Sometimes it makes sense to pre-emptively achieve an agreement because the majority just can’t afford to chew up endless days on debate of a single issue. But sometimes there are issues worth fighting for. Either way, this is the end of the line for the 115th Congress.


    How do you get Democrats to stop talking? This is where Senate Rule XIX, “the two-speech rule,” comes into play. The rule explicitly prohibits individual senators from speaking “more than twice upon any one question in debate on the same legislative day.” Given that Republicans preside over the chair and control the floor, they can refuse to officially adjourn, opting only to recess temporarily, and keep the Senate in the same legislative day indefinitely. This will ensure that even the Democrats who are willing and able to speak for a long time will eventually be forced to relent.

    This never happens and is never enforced, because Republicans never force Democrats to hold the floor in the first place and McConnell simply won’t bring up legislation without a unanimous consent agreement or without 60 votes to ultimately shut off debate. But if he forced the minority to hold the floor and enforced Rule XIX, Democrats would exhaust themselves very quickly. This is a strategy laid out by James Wallner, an expert on Senate procedure who is currently completing a manuscript on the history of the Senate.

    Wallner points out that Democrats do have the ability to challenge rulings of the chair and bring up points of order or call for quorum calls as means of prolonging their floor time, but Republicans can dispense with their motions with 51 votes. Eventually, Democrats would run out of steam and exhaust their two speeches per member. This would theoretically take several days or weeks, but it all depends on the determination of each side. If Republicans keep them in session day and night and over the weekends and make them hold the floor, Democrats would eventually run out of options to block a majority vote to proceed with the border wall funding continuing resolution.

    This strategy is even stronger in optics than in the raw technicalities. Actually forcing Democrats to publicly hold the floor in such a dramatic and unusual way, particularly on a government funding bill, will make the Democrat speech-givers look like utter fools and obstructionists during Christmas. It’s always conservatives who look bad on funding fights, because Republicans and Trump always pre-emptively surrendered. They never bothered to pass a good bill and dare Democrats to block it. This time, however, they finally passed a good budget bill out of the House. If McConnell would bring it up on the Senate floor and rigorously demand its passage with the president ready to sign it – while Democrats are virtue-signaling like clowns for hours on end in front of the cameras – the optics would be terrible for Democrats.
    A committed Republican Party could use control of the chair to grind down Democrats even more while also exposing their radicalism. The chair could enforce a germaneness rule against senators bringing up extraneous matter to the question currently before the Senate, in this case, the House budget bill. Wallner explains the utility of such an approach as follows:


    They would be prohibited from using their floor time during the first three hours of session to discuss unrelated issues. On a point of order, the Chair may call the filibustering Senator to order and force the member to take his or her seat. At that point, the member will have thus used one of his or her two speeches. While the Chair’s ruling is subject to appeal, the appeal can be tabled by a simple majority vote.

    I would add, in the context of this debate, that forcing them to stay on topic would make Democrats stand before the American people and demonstrate that they are engaging in a Christmas filibuster on behalf of people invading our country with violence.

    Wallner, in his strategy originally designed to confirm nominees, lists several other ways the majority can speed up the expending of each minority member’s two-speech allotment.

    The bottom line is that with control of the chair, 51 votes, and sheer conviction (and coffee), a majority party can assert its will, especially with the pressure of a minority filibuster causing a government shutdown. This is how the civil rights bills passed. Republicans with convictions should recognize that having sovereign borders is the civil rights issue for all Americans, rooted in the entire social compact underpinning our federal government.

    But the operative condition here is “conviction.” Republicans officially control the chair and have 51 votes, but they lack conviction. In reality, this is not a 60-vote problem; it’s a 51-vote problem. Conservatives have nowhere close to even 51 votes, and that includes leaders like McConnell. They couldn’t care less about our sovereignty and safety. McConnell was busy attacking Trump last night over the resignation of Secretary Mattis rather than pounding Schumer over the border and challenging him to a Senate procedural duel.

    President Trump could embarrass McConnell by sending Vice President Pence to preside over the Senate, which is his constitutional right. He can have an allied senator get the ball rolling by calling up the bill instead of McConnell. Trump must remember that his entire presidency is on the line. This is his moment. He must use the bully pulpit and every constitutional tool at his disposal to finally force a national debate over the integrity of our own borders.

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  10. #10
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    No matter how many times you post that story, it doesn't change the fact that it is wrong.

    You need 60 votes to pass a bill in the US Senate.
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