Defending the Filibuster, the Soul of the Senate

In Defending the Filibuster, Richard A. Arenberg and Robert B. Dove argue that the filibuster is fundamental to the character of the Senate and the key role that the framers of the Constitution saw in the purpose of the Senate.

Arenberg and Dove contend that the filibuster protects the rights of the minority in American politics, assures stability and deliberation in government, and helps to preserve the constitutional principles of checks and balances and separation of powers. They provide a historical overview of the development of the Senate’s rules, define and describe related procedures and tactics, examine cases related to specific pieces of legislation, and consider the current proposals to end the filibuster or enact other so-called “reforms.”

Arenberg and Dove also provide an assessment of the issues surrounding the current debate on this contentious issue that may come to the forefront on January 3, 2013, when the 113th Congress convenes. Various media sources are reporting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) intends to push through a change to Senate rules to limit the ability to filibuster bills and nominations.



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