The Life and Times of the Filibuster
The filibuster was originally designed as a legislative tool to allow for more deliberation to occur in the Senate over hot button issues. Filibusters were a means of bringing attention to a current bill, usually requiring an objecting Senator to speak for hours on end about the bill until a delay was inevitable. It was this use of the filibuster that became romanticized in the classic movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. The longest “speaking filibuster” was performed against the 1957 Civil Rights Act when South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond spoke for over 24 hours.