The Conventional Option
43 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2012 Last revised: 5 Sep 2014
Date Written: October 4, 2013
The filibuster in the United States Senate effectively imposes a supermajority vote requirement to pass any legislation. Both supporters and critics of the filibuster agree that any filibuster reform would require extraordinary measures. In contrast to this consensus, this Article illustrates a method we call the "conventional option," which allows the filibuster to be reformed by a simple majority of senators at any time using ordinary Senate procedures. As we show below, a majority of senators using the conventional option 1) cannot be filibustered; 2) can act on any day the Senate is in session (not just at the beginning of a new Congress); and 3) does not need to invoke the Constitution. In fact, the Article shows that both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate have limited filibustering in the past by using the conventional option described in this Article.
Keywords: filibuster, Senate, nuclear option, constitutional option, cloture
JEL Classification: D72, D73
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation