Top 5 Senate Filibusters

PHOTO: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., leaves the floor of the Senate after his filibuster of the nomination of John Brennan to be CIA director on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 7, 2013.
Charles Dharapak/AP Photo

Will the senator yield?

Though some might recognize this as the movie dialogue from the iconic 1939 film "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," real life mirrored art on March 6 as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, took to the Senate floor for almost 13 hours to filibuster the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA.

Several lawmakers before him have refused to yield the floor as they stalled the passage of everything from military bills to civil rights. Some have been successful in killing the bills they filibustered, but other attempts have failed miserably.

PHOTO: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., leaves the floor of the Senate after his filibuster of the nomination of John Brennan to be CIA director on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 7, 2013.
Charles Dharapak/AP Photo
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Paul refused to give up as he stood up almost half the day filibustering Brennan's nomination to the top CIA spot. With only peanuts and a couple snacks to keep his stomach satisfied, Paul never once left the Senate floor.

When he stopped talking for brief breaks, colleagues like Sen. Marco Rubio, R- Fla., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, stepped in to help him out. Paul's main issue? That drones can be used to bomb suspected terrorists on foreign lands as part of the Obama administration's targeted killing program.

The filibuster ended up being effective because it convinced Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that there should be even more debate before the vote on Brennan takes place.

READ MORE: Rand Paul Launches Filibuster

PHOTO: Sen. Strom Thurmond, D-S.C., gestures from the witness table during testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Capitol Hill against proposed civil rights legislation in Washington D.C., Feb. 26, 1957.
AP Photo
Sen. Strom Thurmond, R- SC

No congressman is yet to break the late Strom Thurmond's record of longest filibuster at 24 hours and 18 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Thurmond's filibuster included recitations of the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and President George Washington's farewell address. Thurmond reportedly took steam baths to dehydrate himself in order to prepare for the filibuster, according to the U.S. Senate website. This would allow him to drink liquids but not take bathroom breaks.

Though several more senators filibustered for months on the act, it eventually passed on June 19, 1957.

PHOTO: Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, R-N.Y., leans against the podium as he speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill, Oct. 7, 1992, ending his 15-hour filibuster.
John Duricka/AP Photo
Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, R-N.Y.

D'Amato takes the second longest filibuster at 23 hours and 30 minutes when he stalled a 1986 military bill. The bill proposed would have cut off funding for a jet trainer plane headquartered in New York. He also filibustered a tax bill in 1992 in order to protect New York jobs. The best part of his filibuster? He ended the 15 hour and 14 minute session with a little song - "South of the Border (Down Mexico Way)" by Gene Autry. D'Amato didn't quit until the legislation eventually died when the House of Representatives adjourned for the year.

D'Amato once filibustered a bill by reading a Washington, D.C. phone book and has also refused water but instead sucked on throat lozenges to avoid the bathroom.

Sen. Wayne Morse

Morse was often called "The Tiger of the Senate," according to the U.S. Senate website. He got this nickname from relishing in government controversy and never backing down against his enemies. His nickname rang true when he filibustered against Tidelands oil legislation for 22 hours and 26 minutes. But he failed as Congress eventually passed not one, but two acts to restore the Tidelands to the states.

In addition to filibustering, Morse was memorable for changing his party affiliations twice. He left the Republican party to become an Independent, and then decided he wanted to be a Democrat.

PHOTO: Robert Marion La Follette, Sr. (1855-1925), American politician, sits in his office in this undated photo.
Underwood & Underwood/Corbis
U.S. Sen. Robert La Follette, R-Wisc.

Follette almost died trying to filibuster a bill on the Senate floor in 1908.

The senator sent an aide to get him food in the early morning hours during his filibuster, according to the U.S. Senate website. But when he took a sip of his eggnog drink, he started to feel sick and began experiencing digestive problems. It turned out the drink had toxic bacteria in it that could kill anyone who consumed the entire drink, according to the website.

But the poisoning didn't stop Follette from getting as far as he did. His filibuster lasted for 18 hours and 23 minutes and he ended up holding the longest filibuster record for almost 50 years. Follette continued to have an active role in the Senate for years to come despite this threat to his life. He even launched another filibuster in 1917 to block a piece of legislation he felt would bring the U.S. closer to intervening in World War I. A threat to his life was also made during this encounter when an Oregon senator almost used a weapon to stop Follette from filibustering.

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