alison b. alter and
leslie moscow mcgranahan
Reexamining the Filibuster and Proposal Powers in the Senate
Legislative Studies Quarterly, XXV:259-84

Conventional wisdom views the Senate filibuster as a protection of minority rights. In this paper we challenge this intuition by showing that this common belief always holds true only for specific assumptions about Senate procedures. We show that under an open rule, while the filibuster option may advantage the minority, it is also true that the filibuster option may benefit the proposer at the expense of the minority. Whether the filibuster under an open rule advantages or disadvantages the minority, the majority, or the proposer, is a function of the proposerís preferred policy, the status quo, and the costs faced by potential filibusterers.


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