Potential DREAM Act beneficiaries and the government watchdog group Common Cause have joined as plaintiffs to sue the U.S. Senate for blocking DREAM Act legislation with the filibuster rule. The 52-page complaint argues that the filibuster allows senators representing as little as 11 percent of the population to prevent votes in the Senate.
“Most Americans have lost confidence in Congress and its ability to act in the best interest of the American public,” Bob Edgar, president and CEO of Common Cause said in a statement. “They have good reason. Congress is mired in gridlock as partisan factions put political advantage over the national interest. Requiring 60 votes to do anything in the Senate is a big part of the problem. It creates a disincentive to compromise, and allows powerful special interests to call the shots behind closed doors.”
Representing the plaintiffs is attorney Emmet Bondurant of Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore. The National Law Journal named Bondurant one of the top ten trial lawyers in the United States. He has litigated critical civil rights and constitutional law cases over his career.
Plaintiffs in the case also include members of Congress and three promising young people whose future in America is being held hostage because of the filibuster of the DREAM Act.
Congressional plaintiffs include U.S. Reps John Lewis, D-GA., Michael Michaud, D-ME., Hank Johnson, D-GA, and Keith Ellison, D-MN, all of whom have seen legislation they sponsored win overwhelming bipartisan support in the House only to be denied debate and a vote in the Senate because of the filibuster.
Plaintiffs Erika Andiola, Ceasar Vargas and Celso Mireles were brought as children to the U.S. from Mexico by their parents. Each earned a college degree with honors and would be on track to become a U.S. citizen under an immigration reform measure, the DREAM Act. Passed in the House of Representatives, and supported by a majority of Senators, the DREAM Act was killed when just 41 senators refused to end the filibuster blocking it.
Details on this case are emerging. Colorlines.com will bring you more information as it becomes available.