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English 6.

Debate for February 26.


Question: Resolved, That the Aldrich closure rule ought to be adopted by the Senate.

Brief for the affirmative:

H. H. BAKER and F. R. CLOW.

Best general references: Congressional Record, 51st Cong., 2nd Sess., pp., 828, 889, 1, 646, 1, 763 et seq., 1,860 et seq., Reynaud, "Histoire de la Discipline Palementaire," II, 355-400, 417; Dickinson, "Rules and Procedure of Foreign Parliaments," 204-276, 356; Bradlaugh, "Rules of the House of Commons," 78-80; H. H. Smith, "Rules and Practice of the House of Representatives," p.p. 251-2, 464-7.

I. Historical: a Limitation of debate has been found necessary in other large parliamentary bodies; Reynaud, II, 365-70; Dickinson, 356. b. It has been tried in our Senate and repeated attempts have been made to re-establish it: Cong. Rec., 51st Cong., 2d Sess. 1763-6.

II. Some limitation is now imperative in our Senate because: a. The minority is trying to kill measures by delay and not by argument. 1. Using obstructive proceedings; Cong. Rec. 51st Cong., 2nd Sess., 1646 et ad lib.; and 2. Expressly approving of obstruction; Cong. Rec. 51st Cong. 2nd Sess., p, 1881. b. The amount of work to be done by the Senate is large and increasing.

III. The Aldrich closure rule meets the present need providing with its 30 minute clause for limitation not for suppression of debate.

Brief for the negative:


Best general references: Congr. Rec. 51st Congr. 2d Sess. Speeches by Stewart, p. 1921; Cockrell, pp. 1860-1874; Gray; pp. 1878-1883; Vest, pp. 1828-1831; Harris, pp. 1765-1767; Youth's Companion, Feb. 13, 1890, monologue on the U. S. Senate by G. F. Hoar.

I. All restriction of free speech in the Senate is dangerous to the existence of that body; Youth's Companion, Feb. 13, 1890. a. Senate intended to be the deliberative branch of the legislature; Youth's Companion, Feb. 13, 1890. b. Senate at present the only legislative body of the Federal government where absolute freedom of speech is enjoyed; Congr. Rec. p. 1765.

II. No valid reason for a cloture rule in Senate; Youth's Companion, Feb. 13, '90. a. Rule of Senate always heretofore been found ample for the conduct of public business; Congr. Rec. p. 1755. b. Opposition agree to limit debate on all matters necessary to the support of the government, such as appropriation bills, silver bill, etc., but not on purely partisan and sectional measures; Congr. Rec. p. 1756.

III. Real purpose of cloture rule is as a means of passing the force bill against the will of the country as shown by late election; Congr. Rec. p. 1873. Because a. This closure rule is not proposed as a standing rule of the Senate, but only "for the remainder of the session;" Congr. Rec. p. 1764. b. Provisions of bill are unprecedented and revolutionary, 1. assuming no fixed time for the consideration of any bill; Congr. Rec. p. 1764, 2. prohibiting amendments to bills; Congr. Rec. p. 1764, 3. doing away with necessity of a quorum, Congr. Rec. p. 1882.

IV. All previous successful attempts to limit debate in Senate have been either war measures or limited to appropriation bills; Congr. Rec. p. 1829. a. Before 1806, Congr. Rec. p. 1766. b. From 1806-1862; Congr. Rec. p. 1765. c. Since 1862, Hale's measure in 1862, Hamlin's in 1870, Scott's in 1872, Anthony's in 1873, Morrill's in 1874 and 1876, Allison's in 1884. Congr. Rec. pp. 1765-1767.

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