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12/29/2012

Michael Stern on the Filibuster (UPDATED)
Michael Ramsey

At Point of Order, Michael Stern has begun an important series of posts on the power of a mere majority of Senators to change the filibuster rules:

Legal Scholar Letter to the Senate on Procedures for Changing the Rules (addressing this letter, noted here).

Professor Bruhl and Senate Continuity (discussing Professor Bruhl's article Burying the "Continuing Body" Theory of the Senate).

These posts mostly address the theory, expressed in the Legal Scholars' Letter, that the Senate can change its rules by majority vote at the beginning of a new session (because it is not a "continuing body") but not otherwise.  I'm not sure why the Legal Scholars' Letter makes that distinction, however.  If the matter turns on the background constitutional presumption of majority rule (as the Letter indicates), why can't a majority suspend the rules during the session?

UPDATE:  A further post in the series from Michael Stern: Professor Chemerinsky and Senate Precedent on Changing Rules (discussing this article by Erwin Chemerinsky and Catherine Fisk).