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 SenatorPartyStateDateDuration
Strom ThurmondDemocratSCAugust 28, 195724 hours 18 minutes
Alfonse D’AmatoRepublicanNYOctober 17, 198623 hours 30 minutes
Wayne MorseIndependentORApril 24, 195322 hours 26 minutes
Ted CruzRepublicanTXSeptember 24, 201321 hours 18 minutes
Robert M. La FolletteRepublicanWIMay 29, 190818 hours 23 minutes
William ProxmireDemocratWISeptember 28, 198116 hours 12 minutes
Huey LongDemocratLAJune 12, 193515 hours 30 minutes
Jeff MerkleyDemocratORApril 4, 201715 hours 28 minutes
Alfonse D’AmatoRepublicanNYOctober 5, 199215 hours 14 minutes
Chris MurphyDemocratCTJune 15, 201614 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.

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