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NEWSFLASH: Democrats Will Seek to Reform Filibuster!

March 10, 2010

Mark Levine gives the INSIDE SCOOP, reporting BREAKING NEWS from the United States Senate:

Senator Chuck Schumer intends to hold hearings soon, with the aim of ending, or at least reforming, the filibuster at the outset of the next Senate. This has been called the “constitutional option” by supporters or “nuclear option” by detractors. It would be a major and historic reform to end the Republican abuse of the filibuster.

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  • Mark April 1, 2010 3:53 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more. But I’m not the Mark LeVine you criticize, who, according to the LA times “is professor of modern Middle Eastern history at UC Irvine.”

    My name is Mark Levine (subtle difference but the V is not capitalized), and I agree with you the behavior of the Irvine 11 was atrocious.

    Even when I have myself organized protests against some pretty vicious speakers — like an antisemitic member of the Nation of Islam invited to Yale Law School — I have insisted that the speech itself not be interrupted but asked that people respond by silent protest or by walking silently out of the speech.

    The students should have either engaged Ambassador Oren with tough questions, walked out, worn an armband, or protested and provided information outside of the venue. They should not have repeatedly interrupted the speech. I agree.

    Now you can go tell Professor LeVine that “Mark Levine, the talk radio host and former Congressional Attorney,” agrees with you.

    P.S. Generally I ask that blog comments be on topic, but as Rabbi Kurshan was respectfully addressing an issue that I did not address — because he mistook me for someone else — I’m leaving this blog comment here without removing it.

  • Neil Kurshan April 1, 2010 2:53 pm

    Dear Mr Levine:

    I just read your 2/22 column about the Irvine 11 in the LA Times. In your downplaying of their offense, I think you miss the essence of their violation.

    I am a rabbi and if someone were to yell from amidst the congregation “God is dead” during my sermon, I would ask that this person be removed and barred from my synagogue services unless I could be assured there would be no recurrence. I would do this without hesitation even though my institution serves as a refuge and sanctuary for everyone. It would not matter how brief the interruption was or whether I could finish my sermon. A core principle of my institution would have been broken and those who had joined this community to affirm God would have felt violated.

    Similarly the core sacred principle of a university is its commitment to free speech and the right to hear views that may be unpopular. When that principle is violated, as it was by those who shouted down Ambassador Oren, the offenders who do not subscribe to this core community norm should be expelled unless they agree in the future to abide by the central principles that define the university community.

    Neil Kurshan