Of late, Senators tend to favor the threat of filibuster or use of Senate rules to block legislation rather than an epic talking filibuster like Paul’s. The last lengthy filibuster was in 2010, when Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke for more than 8 hours to oppose a tax-cut plan proposed by President Obama. Today, to end a filibuster, a device known as cloture, requires 60 votes, but by talking and only yielding the floor for questions, Paul was able to keep going.
Speaking for almost 13 hours should be a record, shouldn’t it? Although the talking filibuster has rarely been used in recent years, it has a long, storied past. The longest filibuster on record belongs to Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, clocking in at 24 hours, 18 minutes. Thurmond sought to block civil rights legislation in 1957. In addition to Thurmond, Senators Alfonse D’Amato (D-NY) and Wayne Morse (I-OR) both exceeded the 22 hour mark. Senators Robert M. La Follette, Sr. (R-WI) and William Proxmire (D-WI) filibustered for more than 18 hours and 16 hours, respectively. While he didn’t set any records, Senator Paul garnered national attention and managed to bring attention to the use of drones, even though it is unlikely this filibuster will keep Brennan from being confirmed.