The Senate: The Fortas Filibuster

Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, normally the mildest of men, was beside himself. "Outrageous!" he stormed. "We are, by our accomplishments, making the Senate look ridiculous, picayune and incompetent to handle the business of the people." The problem, really, was a lack of accomplishments. Repeatedly lacking a quorum, the upper chamber ground to a halt several times. At one point the Senate went into a 1-hour and 40-minute recess owing to what Mansfield testily termed "a complex development." That development: Senator Allen Ellender's 78th birthday, which he marked by whipping up his annual luncheon of Louisiana creole gumbo for Lady...

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