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  • S9. Understanding the Filibuster: History, Procedure, and Prospects for Change

S9. Understanding the Filibuster: History, Procedure, and Prospects for Change

  • 07/12/2022
  • 07/19/2022
  • 3 sessions
  • 07/12/2022, 12:15 PM 1:45 PM (EDT)
  • 07/14/2022, 12:15 PM 1:45 PM (EDT)
  • 07/19/2022, 12:15 PM 1:45 PM (EDT)
  • Via Zoom



This course will explore the filibuster rules in the United States Senate, which when invoked require a 60-vote supermajority to pass legislation or take other action. We will first review the history of the filibuster and examine some of the most significant historical uses of this mechanism. We will then examine the rules that govern filibusters and how those rules have been modified at times – particularly regarding confirmations of Supreme Court appointments. Finally, we will evaluate the merits of the filibuster, review current issues regarding the filibuster, and examine prospects for change.  

INSTRUCTOR: John S. Ross, III (Jack) received his A.B. degree from Yale University and his J.D. degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and served as Adjunct Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law. Jack has taught numerous courses in the WISE program focused on constitutional law and the Supreme Court, and he facilitates the WISE Supreme Court SIG. 


Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy   By Adam Jentleson (W.W. Norton & Co. 2021)

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Worcester Institute for Senior Education (WISE)
Assumption University, 500 Salisbury Street, Worcester MA 01609

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