The worst abuse of the filibuster is the "secret hold" where one Senator can secretly block the Senate from doing its business. This has been used to block legislation as well as presidential nominations from being considered. It has no place in a democratic society: if a Senator objects to a bill or a nomination but wants to remain anonymous, tough. They were elected to represent the people of their state and the people have a right to know what they're doing.
Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) is on the right track. The Senate should adopt rules that preserve the right of Senators to debate legislation and curb the abuse with two simple steps:
- Ban secret holds.
- Require actual debate.
Of course the details here matter, because if anyone is good at finding and exploiting loopholes, it's politicians. So I hope the Senate keeps it simple. Honest, constructive debate — yes; obstructionism — no.