The U.S. Senate Filibuster: A Feature of or Impediment to Democracy?

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Then-Senator Biden said in 2005 that “American citizens have benefited from the Senate’s check on the excesses of the majority” with “minority protections” through the filibuster. Now, however, President Biden believes the filibuster is being abused and, potentially, impeding democracy. Is Senator Biden or President Biden right? Recent pressure from the press and powerful interest groups on the left seem to agree with President Biden and are urging senators to cast aside their centuries-old tradition of parliamentary procedure in favor of simple majority rule. Should they? What are the consequences if the Senate exercises the nuclear option? Can the Senate still act as our cooling saucer and protect against the “excesses of the majority” without the filibuster?


  • Senator Jon Kyl, Senior Advisor, Covington & Burling, and former United States Congressman and Senator
  • Martin Gold, Partner, Capitol Counsel LLC
  • Moderator: Peter Roskam, Partner, Sidley Austin, and former Congressman, Illinois’ 6th Congressional District

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As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.