Georgetown Law prof calls for end to Senate filibuster, a 'white supremacist tool'

An adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University called the Senate filibuster a “white supremacist tool."

He shared an article which argues that the filibuster, a longtime political tradition, is rooted in segregation.

An adjunct professor of law called for an end to the Senate filibuster, saying that it’s a “white supremacist tool.” 

Professor Preston Mitchum, who teaches law at Georgetown University, shared an opinion editorial published by The Atlantic titled “The Senate Filibuster Is Another Monument to White Supremacy” on Twitter. 


The op-ed, authored by former Obama speechwriter David Litt, was published in June, amid a nationwide call to tear down Confederate statues and other monuments

“The Senate filibuster—the rule that allows a minority of senators to block nearly every piece of legislation—may not have the literal weight of stone or metal. But it, too, is a direct legacy of segregation, and it remains a tool for maintaining systemic racism,” Litt wrote, further calling the filibuster “another relic of the Jim Crow era.”

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Litt admitted that the filibuster was not designed as a “tool for white supremacists.” In fact, the tradition was never intentionally created, he clarified; it arose by accident in a wording error and resulted in granting minorities in the Senate the power to indefinitely block legislation. 

The Senate revised the filibuster rule in the early twentieth century, ruling that a two-thirds majority could annul a filibuster. 

One notable group that took advantage of the updated rule, Litt stated, was segregationist southern Democrats -- a majority united in its determined opposition of civil rights. Ultimately, Congress considered nearly 200 anti-lynching measures over several decades, but passed none of them due to Democrats’ misuse of the filibuster; because segregationists filibustered every amendment, there was never a chance for Congress to vote. 

Additionally, the alternate version of the filibuster, the well-known “marathon speech” as Litt described it, “is intertwined with racism,” because the longest filibuster in history was delivered in opposition to civil rights. 

Litt concluded that removing the Senate filibuster would make anti-racist policies far easier to pass, and that, like assorted statues of historical significance, should be removed.

When asked for further comment, Mitchum told Campus Reform that he agrees with the article and had nothing more to add. 

[RELATED: Law prof wants to scrap US Constitution's 'racist' and 'gendered' language]

A former Campus Reform D.C. correspondent commented on the Twitter post, observing that Mitchum teaches law at Georgetown.


Mitchum called her out in a reply re-affirming his position: "Yes! And, thankfully, one who understands the Senate filibuster has deep roots in segregationist America and has blocked years of anti-racist legislation that could help marginalized communities."


Later, he renewed the discussion, calling her a racist and saying that "racist conservatives never know how to respond. They only know how to say ridiculous garbage backed without any facts." 


After Campus Reform reached out to him for comment, Mitchum posted part of the email exchange to his Twitter, warning his followers that “conservative website, C*mpus R*form, will be using my tweets about the Senate filibuster having white supremacist roots as the subject for an article.”


He concluded that both Campus Reform representatives who communicated with him “need lives.” 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @mariatcopeland