Democratizing the Senate from Within

56 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2021 Last revised: 22 Nov 2021

See all articles by Jonathan Gould

Jonathan Gould

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Kenneth Shepsle

Harvard University - Department of Government

Matthew Stephenson

Harvard Law School

Date Written: March 25, 2021

Abstract

This article proposes that the U.S. Senate adopt a “popular-majoritarian cloture rule,” under which a motion to close debate and proceed to a final vote would carry if but only if supported by a majority of Senators who collectively represent a larger share of the population than those Senators in opposition. This rule, which would be a constitutional exercise of the Senate’s power to set the rules of its proceedings, would make the body more democratic and more functional, and would be preferable both to the current filibuster rule and to simple majority rule.

Keywords: Filibuster, Senate, Democracy, Cloture, Equality, Legislative Procedure, Constitutional Law

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Gould, Jonathan and Shepsle, Kenneth and Stephenson, Matthew Caleb, Democratizing the Senate from Within (March 25, 2021). Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 21-11, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3812526 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3812526

Jonathan Gould

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.law.berkeley.edu/our-faculty/faculty-profiles/jonathan-gould/

Kenneth Shepsle

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
(617) 495-4928 (Phone)
(617) 496-5149 (Fax)

Matthew Caleb Stephenson (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-9863 (Phone)

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