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The Specter Haunting the Senate’

In response to:

The Specter Haunting the Senate from the September 30, 2010 issue

To the Editors:

In his indictment of the United States Senate [“The Specter Haunting the Senate,” NYR, September 30], Michael Tomasky writes, “Having 55 percent of the votes usually gets you nothing.” Actually the situation is much worse. Under the current cloture rule, it is theoretically possible for a minority to block the will of senators representing 89 percent of the country’s population (fifty-nine senators from the thirty most populous states). The deliberate sacrifice to representative government caused by the Senate’s disproportionate method of election is thus increased by a whole order of magnitude unimagined by the Founders, who intended the Senate to exercise its check on the passions of the more representative chamber by simple majority. The time has come to consider whether this check upon a check is undermining public confidence in our entire constitutional system.

Edward C. Nowacki
Cincinnati, Ohio

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