Lee's filibusters
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

"Our Founding Fathers did not like a democracy and we don't like it, either," said Peter Cannon, a Davis County member of the Utah Republican State Central Committee ("Utah GOP rejects changes, making ballot drive likely," Tribune, April 14).

Well, "not democracy" is clearly what we got when a solid majority of U.S. senators voted for expanding background checks on gun purchases (something 90 percent of Americans want) and yet the bill failed.

Perhaps Cannon meant that the founders went for representative government (a republic) instead of the people directly deciding every issue (a democracy). But the Senate hardly was representative government this week. Unless you mean representing the National Rifle Association.

The founders dictated simple majority rule in Congress. They knew about requiring supermajority votes, and they required them for extraordinary things, like amending the Constitution. But for regular legislation, the Constitution requires only a simple majority of senators.

The corrupt supermajority filibuster didn't begin until decades after the first Congress, and its routine use is recent.

You'd think a constitutional originalist like Sen. Mike Lee would know that and rail about this perversion of the founders' intent. But, no, he filibusters right and left. Some conservative.

Benjamin Williams

Salt Lake City