Thursday, September 11, 2014

How Alexander and Corker voted on the resolution to amend the Constitution to partially repeal the 1st Amendment.

Yesterday I reported on a bill that advanced in the Senate that would partially repeal the First Amendment protection of Free Speech.  The bill would essentially say that only individuals had freedom of speech, not corporations.  This would make it permissible for the government to order a publisher to stop publishing a book or a distributor of a movie to stop showing a movie or Amazon or Barnes and Noble to stop selling a book.  It would essentially gut the First Amendment.

The bill had advanced in the Senate by a vote of  79-18 on Tuesday. That was a vote on cloture on the Motion to Proceed. Both Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker voted "Aye," or voted for Cloture. “Cloture”means to end debate so that an up-or-down vote can be taken. A vote in favor is a vote to end debate and move to a vote on the issue itself, while a vote against is a vote to prolong debate or to filibuster. I have already had a couple people point out that Alexander and Corker voted "Aye."

Alexander and Corker did vote "Aye" as did other Republicans such as Jeff Sessions and Marco Rubio. For those of you who might not know, no one would call Jeff Session and Marco Rubio liberal Republicans. Twenty-five Republicans voted "Aye" and only 18 voted "nay."

That vote was a procedural vote on the "motion to proceed."  Today another closure vote was taken on the resolution itself. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker voted "nay." That was a vote against cutting off debate. That was a vote for a filibuster. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker voted the same way as  40 other Republicans. The vote on today's closure motion was 52 Democrats voting "yea," (for ending debate) and one Democrat not voting, and 42 Republicans voting "nay," (voting against cutting off debate) and three Republicans not voting. The two independents in the Senate voted with the Democrats. The motion to cut off debate failed.

Why only 18 Senators voted for a filibuster at the very first opportunity, I don't know, but the very next vote on the  resolution was a also a vote to filibuster and Alexander and Corker voted to filibuster. Maybe they thought a filibuster on the resolution itself was strategically wiser than a filibuster on a motion to proceed. I don't know enough about the rules of the Senate to know why most Republicans voted "Aye" on the motion to proceed.  Often there are numerous procedural votes on a bill before voting on the bill itself.  If anyone uses that first vote to claim Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker, Jeff Session, and Marco Rubio and 14 other republicans voted to repeal the First Amendment, they are being disingenuous.

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