GOP COVID19 Relief Package “Compromise”:
History (from Wikipedia):
On August 28, 1957, United States Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina began a filibuster intended to stop the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. It began at 8:54 p.m. and lasted until 9:12 p.m. the following day, for a total length of 24 hours and 18 minutes. This made the filibuster the longest single-person filibuster in U.S. Senate history, a record that still stands today.
The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was designed to federally secure and protect the right of African Americans to vote.
In the Senate, the bill was supported by Republicans and Democrats, though most Democrats from southern states opposed the bill. Newspapers had reported that the bill would likely pass without a filibuster, as a vote to send the bill back to committee had failed 66-18 and there was no indication that the opposition intended to filibuster. Thurmond’s filibuster, largely a surprise, was intended to stop the bill from passing. While Thurmond alone could not have sustained the filibuster long enough to prevent a vote on the bill, there was considerable uncertainty at the time as to whether or not other senators would join.
Thurmond opened his filibuster at 8:54 p.m. on August 28, 1957, asserting that the civil rights bill was unconstitutional and constituted “cruel and unusual punishment”. He went on to read documents primarily related to the United States and its history, including the Declaration of Independence, the election laws of each state in alphabetical order, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the U.S. Bill of Rights, and George Washington’s Farewell Address. The filibuster drew to a close after 24 hours and 18 minutes at 9:12 p.m. on August 29, making it the longest filibuster ever conducted in the Senate to this day.
In order to save his voice and stamina, Thurmond spent time answering questions and receiving rebuke from other senators. Those who asked questions generally did so with the intent of allowing Thurmond’s voice to rest. He also took two short breaks to allow for Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson to take care of Senate business, including the swearing-in of William Proxmire who had been elected after the death of Joseph McCarthy.
Leading up to the filibuster, Thurmond took daily steam baths in order to draw fluids out of his body. By dehydrating himself, he enabled his body to absorb fluids for a longer period of time before needing to leave the Senate chamber for the bathroom.
Thurmond was allowed to relieve himself only once, approximately three hours into his filibuster. Senator Barry Goldwater quietly asked Thurmond how much longer he could hold off using the bathroom, and he replied, “about another hour”. Goldwater asked Thurmond to yield the floor to him for a few minutes, and while Goldwater spoke, Thurmond was able to use the bathroom. An aide had prepared a bucket in the Senate cloakroom for Thurmond to relieve himself if the need arose, but Thurmond did not end up using it.
During the filibuster, Thurmond sustained himself on diced pieces of pumpernickel bread and small pieces of cooked hamburger. He also sucked on “throat lozenges and malted milk tablets” to keep himself from getting hoarse.
The filibuster failed to prevent the passage of the bill, and further failed to change the vote whatsoever. Thurmond’s filibuster has been described as racist, as Thurmond attempted to block a law that protected the right of African-Americans to vote. According to Joseph Crespino, Thurmond’s filibuster in 1957, as well as his authorship of the Southern Manifesto the preceding year, “sealed Thurmond’s reputation as one of the South’s last Confederates, a champion of white southerners’ campaign of ‘massive resistance‘” to civil rights.
In 1964, Thurmond (who would switch his affiliation to the Republican Party later that year) participated in a second anti-civil rights filibuster, this time against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The 1964 filibuster was carried out by a group of Southern Senators over 60 days and was only ended by a cloture vote.
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