April 14, 2005
Unusual coalition joins forces in “The Filibuster to Save the Filibuster”
Chapter member Alexander Frix ’06 initiated the event, which he hopes will be remembered as “The Filibuster to Save the Filibuster.” The event eventually involved more than a dozen student and faculty speakers to produce a non-stop flood of oratory between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. What better place to filibuster than in the commons named after Oregon’s famous gadfly, who spoke on his feet for over 22 hours to protect a minority viewpoint? said Frix.
Frix also provided the imitation of Stewart as he read from the script of Mr. Smith. The Commons also heard slightly less pitch-perfect imitations of Richard Nixon (in his famous Checkers Speech) and former Missouri Senator G.G. Vest, the author of the famed Eulogy of the Dog.
But political speechifying was not the only content of the filibuster. Lauren Sommers ’06 read from William Goldman’s The Princess Bride; Cindy Mitchell ’06 read On the Rainy River by Tim O’Brien; Aaron Grieser ’07 read from Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends; visiting professor Svitlana Kravchenko delivered a brief address in her native Russian; and chapter faculty adviser Garrett Epps read a long selection from The Queen of Sheba, a romantic fantasy by J.C. Mardrus.
The next day, April 12, the UO chapter of ACS sponsored a lunchtime talk by Jeff Berman, managing director of The Berman Group in Los Angeles and former chief counsel to United States Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY). Berman, whose talk was entitled “The Constitutionality of the Filibuster,” reviewed the history of free debate in the Senate from 1789 until the present, and discussed the arguments the current Republican Senate majority is using in an attempt to impose a new rule barring filibusters of judicial nominees. He noted that the nominees against whom Democrats have used the manuever are “the worst of the worst of the worst” of Bush’s right-wing nominees. “These are scary folks,” he said.