The Senate Reform Proposal

Gerard Magliocca

Gerard N. Magliocca is the Samuel R. Rosen Professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Professor Magliocca is the author of three books and over twenty articles on constitutional law and intellectual property. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford, his law degree from Yale, and joined the faculty after two years as an attorney at Covington and Burling and one year as a law clerk for Judge Guido Calabresi on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Professor Magliocca has received the Best New Professor Award and the Black Cane (Most Outstanding Professor) from the student body, and in 2008 held the Fulbright-Dow Distinguished Research Chair of the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, The Netherlands. He was elected to the American Law Institute (ALI) in 2013.

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2 Responses

  1. Ken Rhodes says:

    I’m not sure I understand your description of number 4, but if I do, then I disagree with your characterization.

    It has long been my contention that allowing somebody to say “I filibuster” and automatically shifting the subject legislation to track 2, which is the spur that doesn’t go anywhere, has allowed the Senate gridlock we seem to suffer under.

    I believe if the minority that wants to block a motion has to actually get up and speak, they will become much more reluctant to do so for every little thing they don’t like. The price for filibuster will become visibility–their constituents will get to see them gridlocking the senate. I believe that would cause them to be more judicious in deciding which issues are important enough to do that.

    And then, if they do a “real filibuster,” then the majority who don’t have enough votes to override will have to decide whether their proposed legislation is sufficiently important to gridlock the Senate until the minority caves in.

    As it is now, Senators Mansfield and Byrd should not be proud of their “two track” system.

  2. Howard Wasserman says:

    I like your addition of a minimum time the matter must remain on the calendar. The change does make one change, in putting the onus to hold the floor on the filibustererers. During the period of unlimited debate, there can be no quorum calls. So the majority does not have to remain in chambers to keep the minority talking. A small change, but beneficial nonetheless.