Democratizing the Filibuster
Assistant Professor at Berkeley Law School
George D. Markham Professor of Government at Harvard University
Eli Goldston Professor of Law at Harvard Law School
The Senate filibuster’s effective requirement of 60 votes to pass legislation has posed a barrier to the enactment of laws protecting civil rights and workers’ rights and today, threatens to stall progress on the major challenges facing our nation. As a result, many have called for its elimination. In a new ACS Issue Brief, Jonathan Gould, Assistant Professor at Berkeley Law School, Kenneth Shepsle, George D. Markham Professor of Government at Harvard University, and Matthew Stephenson, Eli Goldston Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, propose an alternative approach to filibuster reform that would allow Senate majorities representing population majorities to effectively govern, while still serving as a check on minority rule. The popular majoritarian cloture rule they recommend would, they argue, make our system of government more democratic, more equal, and less polarized.