How Long Did the Longest Filibuster Last?

You might be shocked to find out that the longest filibuster lasted over 24 hours. While this filibuster attempt ultimately proved unsuccessful, I find it ridiculous that filibustering is even a thing in the Senate. On the other hand, I appreciate that senators have this opportunity to stand up for what they believe in.

Putting my personal opinions aside, let’s take a look at the longest filibusters in US history.

Quick refresher on filibustering — as long as a senator keeps speaking on the Senate floor, a bill cannot be passed.

Longest Filibuster

Senator Strom Thurmond conducted the longest filibuster ever which lasted 24 hours and 18 minutes. During his August 28, 1957 speech, Thurmond filibustered in opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

Ultimately, Senator Thurmond was unsuccessful in his efforts because the bill was eventually passed by Congress. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957 into law twelve days after Thurmond’s filibuster. As a result, the federal government took its first step towards protecting civil rights.

While Senator Thurmond’s filibuster lasted over 24 hours, it’s worth pointing out that he did take a break during his speech. After three hours of speaking, another senator took the Senate floor for a few minutes. During this time, the filibustering senator used the toilet.

List of Longest Filibusters

Below you will find a list of the longest filibusters in the US Senate since 1900 according to Wikipedia.

US Senator Party State Date Duration
Strom Thurmond Democrat SC August 28, 1957 24 hours 18 minutes
Alfonse D’Amato Republican NY October 17, 1986 23 hours 30 minutes
Wayne Morse Independent OR April 24, 1953 22 hours 26 minutes
Ted Cruz Republican TX September 24, 2013 21 hours 18 minutes
Robert M. La Follette Republican WI May 29, 1908 18 hours 23 minutes
William Proxmire Democrat WI September 28, 1981 16 hours 12 minutes
Huey Long Democrat LA June 12, 1935 15 hours 30 minutes
Jeff Merkley Democrat OR April 4, 2017 15 hours 28 minutes
Alfonse D’Amato Republican NY October 5, 1992 15 hours 14 minutes
Chris Murphy Democrat CT June 15, 2016 14 hours 50 minutes

As you can see, three of the longest filibusters have taken place in the past decade. Recent long filibusters include Ted Cruz, Jeff Merkley, and Chris Murphy.

In addition, it seems like democrats and republicans are equally as likely to filibuster for a long period of time according to this list.

I don’t follow politics too much. In fact, I try to distance myself from politics as much as possible. I can definitely see pros and cons to filibustering.

But I’d like to know what you think of filibustering. Good? Bad? Ridiculous? Let me know in the comments below.

Leave a Comment