Chapter published in:Controversies in the Contemporary World
Edited by Adriano Fabris and Giovanni Scarafile
[Controversies 15] 2019
► pp. 201–216
The beleaguered filibuster of the US Senate
This chapter explores the debate about the debate and two procedures that US senators use to extend and close the debate: filibuster and cloture. I first outline the history of the filibuster and cloture. Within the debate about the debate are two controversies: the senate as an exclusive deliberative body, and the meaning of majority rule. I show how the exclusive deliberative body theory envisioned by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington has devolved to where the Senate has become more like the House. Majority rule, because of changes made to cloture, has become more like what the framers of the Constitution likely envisioned: simple majority rule.
Keywords: debate, US Constitution, Senate, Articles of Confederation, filibuster, cloture, Alexander Hamilton; James Madison, George Washington, majority rule
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