The Filibuster

The filibuster was in the news this week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) changed Senate rules to limit the amount of debate time required for non-Cabinet-level executive and district court nominations. In addition, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who’s running for president, has called for an end to the filibuster rule.

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for The Filibuster

Links

“Elizabeth Warren will back ending the Senate filibuster”
https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/05/politics/elizabeth-warren-2020-senate-filibuster/index.html

“Elizabeth Warren wants to blow up the Senate filibuster”
https://www.boston.com/news/politics/2019/04/05/elizabeth-warren-filibuster

“2020 candidate Elizabeth Warren calls for ending Senate filibuster rule”
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/05/sen-elizabeth-warren-calls-for-ending-the-senate-filibuster.html?__source=twitter%7Cmain

“Senate Republicans enact procedural change to speed confirmation of Trump judicial picks”
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/senate-republicans-push-procedural-change-to-speed-confirmation-of-trump-judicial-picks.print

“Mitch McConnell triggered the ‘nuclear option’ again. Here’s what that means.”
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/mitch-mcconnell-triggered-nuclear-option-again-here-s-what-means-n990521?yptr=yahoo

“Death of the filibuster? With McConnell and Reid changes, it may be just a matter of time”
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/death-of-the-filibuster-with-mcconnell-and-reid-changes-it-may-be-just-a-matter-of-time

“Coming soon: the death of the filibuster”
https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/05/politics/elizabeth-warren-2020-senate-filibuster/index.html

“Mitch McConnell’s pre-emptive nuclear strike”
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-04-03/mcconnell-goes-nuclear-to-change-senate-rules-on-nominations

“Christian Whiton: Senate Republicans strike a blow against Democratic obstruction”
https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/christian-whiton-senate-republicans-strike-a-blow-against-democratic-obstruction

Assessment

  • Writing: Why has Senator Elizabeth Warren called for an end to the filibuster?
  • Debate: Even if it has been abused, the filibuster is an important part of protecting the rights of a minority party or group of legislators in the United States Senate and is worth keeping.
  • Poll: Do you agree with the rule change enacted by Senator Mitch McConnell?
  • Short Answer: Define cloture.

Current events quiz:

1) Who is the Senator at the front lines of the call to end the entire filibuster rule in the Senate?

a. Mitch McConnell
b. Elizabeth Warren
c. Harry Reid
d. Steny Hoyer

2) How many votes are now required to end a filibuster since the “nuclear option” was invoked?

a. 50
b. 60
c. 55
d. 51

3) Senator McConnell invoked the nuclear option as a way to get what confirmed/done quicker?

a. Gun control regulations
b. Funds to build the border wall
c. Presidential judicial nominees
d. Healthcare reform

4) Both Republicans and Democrats have taken advantage of the filibuster in recent years. (T/F)

5) There are essentially no rules when it comes to what a Senator can and cannot talk about when they are filibustering; some senators have been known to read from children’s story books and cook books during their time on the floor. (T/F)

6) The filibuster is allowed in the House of Representatives as it is in the Senate. (T/F)

Answers:

1) B

2) D

3) C

4) True

5) True

6) False

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