The US Senate’s filibuster rule requires 60% votes, instead of a simple majority, to advance legislation. Critics call this undemocratic and tyranny of the minority. Here’s a podcast on this rule’s history and usefulness, produced by the National Constitution Center.

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https://playlist.megaphone.fm/?e=NCC3261888213

Earlier this month, President Biden voiced support for getting rid of the filibuster, looking to ease the path of voting rights legislation in Congress. But Senators Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema opposed the change. The legislation has been stalled, and debate over the filibuster runs high once again.

Joining host Jeffrey Rosen to discuss the history, constitutionality, and calls for reform of the filibuster are two of the nation’s leading experts on congressional power and practices. Josh Chafetz is a professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center and author of Congress’s Constitution: Legislative Authority and the Separation of PowersJay Cost is the Gerald R. Ford nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. His newest book is James Madison: America’s First Politician.

This episode was produced by Melody Rowell Rowelland engineered by Greg Scheckler. Research was provided by Kevin Closs, Ruben Aguirre, Sam Desai, and Lana Ulrich.

PARTICIPANTS

Josh Chafetz is a Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center. His books include: Congress’s Constitution: Legislative Authority and the Separation of Powers (2019) and Democracy’s Privileged Few: Legislative Privilege and Democratic Norms in the British and American Constitutions (2007). Before working at Georgetown, he spent 12 years on the faculty at Cornell Law School.

Jay Cost is the Gerald R. Ford nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is also a columnist for National Review and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. His newest book is James Madison: America’s First Politician.

Jeffrey Rosen is the president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization devoted to educating the public about the U.S. Constitution. Rosen is also professor of law at The George Washington University Law School and a contributing editor of The Atlantic.

This podcast was first published on the National Constitution Center website on 27 January 2022.