TONY HAYS, San Clemente
There are few, if any, democracies in the world whose legislature is as unrepresentative of the nation as is the U.S. Congress.
The House of Representatives is, as its name indicates, representative of the population, but the much more powerful Senate is not, by a long way.
The Senate has the unique role of confirming Supreme Court justices, federal judges and senior administration officials nominated by the President, so the most important decisions as to how the government operates are controlled by this body.
However, the smallest 21 states by population, with 42 senators, have a combined citizenship that is approximately equal to that of California, with two senators. Is that fair?
Coincidentally, thanks to the filibuster, these 42 senators, representing about 12% of U.S. citizens, have the power to block the passage of legislation, although not the approval of judges and administration officials.
It’s no wonder that not much of substance gets done by Congress. The principle of having two senators from each state, irrespective of the state’s population, is baked into the Constitution, and can’t easily be changed.
The filibuster can easily be eliminated with a simple majority vote, but senators from both parties seem quite happy to continue public posturing, safe in the knowledge that legislation that they publicly support but personally dislike doesn’t stand a chance of passage.
Sen. Feinstein is ambivalent, but Sen. Padilla supports elimination of the filibuster. Write to both of them to indicate your support for elimination.