On Tuesday, December 11, at 11:00 a.m., Heritage will host a book event and a discussion with two well-known experts on the importance of maintaining the current rule governing the use of the filibuster in the Senate.
In Defending the Filibuster, Richard A. Arenberg and Robert B. Dove argue that the filibuster is fundamental to the character of the Senate and the key role that the framers of the Constitution saw in the purpose of the Senate.
Arenberg and Dove contend that the filibuster protects the rights of the minority in American politics, assures stability and deliberation in government, and helps to preserve the constitutional principles of checks and balances and separation of powers. They provide a historical overview of the development of the Senate’s rules, define and describe related procedures and tactics, examine cases related to specific pieces of legislation, and consider the current proposals to end the filibuster or enact other so-called “reforms.”
Arenberg and Dove also provide an assessment of the issues surrounding the current debate on this contentious issue that may come to the forefront on January 3, 2013, when the 113th Congress convenes. Various media sources are reporting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) intends to push through a change to Senate rules to limit the ability to filibuster bills and nominations.
Arenberg was an aide to former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D–ME), Senator Carl Levin (D–MI), and former Senator Paul Tsongas (D–MA). He served in senior congressional staff positions for 34 years—four years in the House of Representatives and 30 years in the Senate. He is an adjunct lecturer in political science and public policy at Brown University, Northeastern University, and Suffolk University.
Dove is Parliamentarian Emeritus of the United States Senate, having served as the Senate’s parliamentarian and assistant parliamentarian from 1966 to 2001. He is an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, George Washington University, and George Mason University.
Arenberg and Dove were awarded a competitive Congressional Research Award by the Dirksen Congressional Center in 2010.