Filibusters are important

“The filibuster is the last check we have against the abuse of power in Washington,” Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in 2005. He was right about the importance of the technique in protecting Americans’ rights.

But that was then. Now, Reid, as majority leader in the Senate, has been talking about using his Democrat majority there to outlaw at least some filibusters.

Reid is piqued because Senate Republicans have been using various tactics, lumped together under the description of filibustering, to delay confirmation of some people nominated by President Barack Obama for high government posts.

But Senate rules allow classic filibusters and similar delaying methods to keep majority party lawmakers from steamrollering over the wishes and even the basic rights of others.

Do filibusters sometimes lead to annoying delays? Absolutely. But, as even Reid recognized in 2005, they are important parts of our checks and balances system of government. Cool-headed senators of both parties should not allow Reid to destroy that safeguard.