- The Washington Times
Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Sen. Joe Manchin III on Tuesday reasserted his opposition to blowing up the filibuster after the Supreme Court confirmed that a majority of justices were leaning towards overturning federal protection for abortion rights.

Mr. Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, said that doing away with the Senate‘s 60-vote threshold as some in his party have suggested would be a detriment to democracy.

“The filibuster is the only protection we have of democracy right now,” he said. “I’ve always believed in protecting women’s rights with the filibuster so you have to look at it, but the bottom line is we need checks and balances.”

Democrats renewed calls to end the filibuster so that they could force through legislation making abortion rights a U.S. law after the Supreme Court draft decision was leaked to the news media.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday confirmed that a majority of justices were leaning toward overturning Roe. The ruling would assert that abortion is not a right protected by the Constitution, kicking the abortion issue to each state to decide.

“If an extremist Supreme Court overturns Roe, wealthy women will still get safe abortions — by traveling to another state or country,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat. “But women of color, those with lower incomes, and victims of abuse will suffer the most. Congress must eliminate the filibuster and protect Roe.”

SEE ALSO: Supreme Court confirms draft opinion is authentic but not final ruling

Mr. Manchin‘s position likely dooms any attempt to curtail the filibuster.

The result is not particularly surprising. Earlier this year, Mr. Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona stymied efforts by fellow Democrats to blow up the filibuster to pass a partisan rewrite of the nation’s voting laws. Both argued the 60-vote threshold was one of the last guardrails preventing majoritarian rule.

“American politics are cyclical and the granting of power in Washington, D.C., is exchanged regularly by the voters from one party to another,” said Ms. Sinema. “But what is the legislative filibuster other than a tool … that millions of Americans represented by the minority party have a voice in the process.”

With the filibuster in place, Democrats are unlikely to secure sufficient support for any legislation on abortion. That reality was evidenced earlier this year when Mr. Manchin, who at times has identified as pro-life, voted with Republicans to block legislation codifying abortion rights into law.

At the time, the bill failed to reach the 60 votes necessary to overcome the filibuster. Even if the filibuster was not in place, the legislation still would have failed within the evenly split senate because of Mr. Manchin‘s opposition.

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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