March 28, 2011


Best Filibuster Ever

From Filibustering: A Political History of Obstruction in the House and Senate:

"In January 1923, the Democratic minority in the Rhode Island Senate began a low-intensity filibuster against all major legislation in an effort to force the Republican majority to call for a new constitutional convention. They were aided by a Democratic Lieutenant Governor presiding over the Senate, Felix Toupin, who refused to recognize any Republicans seeking to make motions, except a motion to call for a convention. This conflict reached a peak in June, 1924 when the Rhode Island Senate stayed in continuous session for 22 hours until the Republican majority simply got up and left. Three days later they returned for a 42-hour day-and-night session which began with a mass fistfight over control of the gavel and ended when Republican operatives placed a poison-soaked rag behind Toupin to gas him out of the presiding officer's chair. No one was permanently harmed, but the Republican majority relocated to Rutland, Massachusetts for six months until Republican victories in the 1924 elections put an end to the struggle."

Karl Kurtz has more color from a New York Times excerpt at the time.










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