Democrats and Republicans recently called a truce in their perpetual battle over the filibuster (a delaying tactic made possible by Senate rules allowing for unlimited debate). As might be expected, the party in power tends to deride the filibuster as obstructionist, while the minority party tends to exalt it as a bulwark against tyranny.
In a 1960s radio interview, when Ayn Rand was asked her opinion on filibusters, she placed the issue in a wider perspective—the need for constitutional limitations that prevent government from violating individual rights.
Q: [W]ould you favor the filibuster, which also limits majority rule?
A: That is a small, technical question. I’m not sure that a filibuster is the proper means of opposing unlimited majority rule. I would be in favor of the right to filibuster only on the principle that one must not gag debate in a parliamentary form of government. The legislators should have the time to discuss proposed legislation. However, it is also true that a filibuster could go on forever. The question of how to lay down the rules so as to give ample time for debate, yet not allow it to degenerate into sheer obstruction, is thus a purely technical one. It is not too important, because legislatures should be limited by the Constitution, not by any tricks that may be pulled on the floor of Congress to prevent or hasten the passage of a particular law. What is important in this regard are the Constitutional principles that name the kind of laws Congress may or may not pass.
The entire interview, along with many others (starting with Rand’s first published interview in 1932), is contained in Objectively Speaking: Ayn Rand Interviewed, available at Amazon.com.