Abstract and Keywords
The supermajoritarian nature of the Senate raises several empirical and normative questions. While there have been good answers to these questions, others remain elusive and under-explored. This article addresses some of these questions, by discussing some of the answers political scientists have uncovered as well as the questions that demand future exploration. Key issues discussed in this article include institutional revolution, public opinion, procedural innovations in response to inherited rules and changing political context, and the interplay between supermajority procedures and advice and consent responsibilities. As the Senate has not always been a supermajority institution in the sense that it is today, the article focuses on the historical development of supermajority rule in the chamber to understand the consequences of having one of the coequal institutions at the top of the governing hierarchy in the United States operated by supermajoritarian procedures.
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