View Full Version : The filibuster rule

01-06-2013, 07:44 AM
I noticed this one during my reread, but I think that it deserves a thread of its own.
"It is time," Egwene said, "for a change to be made. I propose that there be no further meetings of this nature. I propose that it be written into Tower law that if any Sitter leaves the White Tower, her Ajah must appoint a surrogate to vote for her while absent. I propose that it be written into Tower law that no meeting of the Hall can be convened unless every Sitter or her surrogate either is present, or has sent word directly that she cannot attend. I propose that the Amyrlin must be informed-and given a reasonable amount of time to attend if she wishes-of every meeting of the Hall, save when she cannot be found or is indisposed in some way."
With this new rule, what happens if a Sitter doesn't want some measure to pass in the Hall?

If she's already present in the Hall when she learns of it, then she is stuck, of course. Just as used to be the case.
She can argue against it, hoping to stop it that way. She can refuse to stand for it. But that is all.

But if she learns about it beforehand, things are now different.
She can still try to fight it in the Hall, just as before. But that may not work.
So alternatively, she can stay in the Tower, and simply avoid being officially notified. Stay away from other Sisters, do not read any notices posted anywhere, don't listen to anything said, and do not go to the Hall. That way, the session can't start, they don't have a justification for appointing a replacement (as would happen if she left the Tower), and thus this measure will not ever come to a vote.

I'm pretty sure this wasn't what Egwene intended. I also suspect we won't see it happening in the series itself. But it will undoubtedly become a feature of sessions of the Hall for decades, until someone finally manages to change the rules in such a way that this hole is plugged. Can anyone think of a formulation that wouldn't have even worse side effects?

01-06-2013, 11:17 AM
Actually, there's not even a need for the Sitter to hide. She only needs to not send the message that she's not there. She could stand right around the cournen from the Hall, in plain view, and they couldn't start because she's neither present, nor has sent word of her absense. :)

That flaw will probably be fixed right after the first time someone exploits it, though.

01-06-2013, 11:28 AM
But they can only fix it when the Hall is in session. And before that, every Sitter will be wondering whether she wouldn't be able to use this loophole sometime.

01-08-2013, 07:06 AM
As I understand it, there is no fixed mandate period for Sitters, they may be replaced at any time. Thus, we have an hidden balance of power between the Hall and the Ajah heads, which is why the improbably Greater Consensus might actually work: Sitters know they will be dismissed unless they make the Hall work.

Which is not to say that an ancient institution where a substantial minority has a professional interest in law, history, philosophy and logic is likely to change its statutes without exhaustive study and discussion.