The U.S. Senate is a unique legislative body in that it often requires a supermajority of sixty votes in favour of a legislation for a bill to pass. This is due to an historic institution called the filibuster. But the filibuster is not exactly like we think. Instead, it has evolved into a means to ensure the minority party can easily block legislation from passing with a majority. What is the history of the filibuster? What is its function? What does its future look like? Doug Becker speaks with Jeremi Suri.

Jeremi Suri is a Professor of Public Affairs and History at the University of Texas, Austin. He is an expert in American politics and is the author of The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America’s Highest Office.



This interview originally aired on the Scholars’ Circle. To access our archive of episodes and download this interview, click here.

For more of our audio and visual content, check out our YouTube channel, or head to the University of Auckland’s manuscripts and archives collection.

Disclaimer: The ideas expressed in this discussion reflect the views of the guest and not necessarily the views of The Big Q. 

You might also like:

The first 100 days, Biden’s rise and Trump’s demise? 🔊

What will a Joe Biden presidency look like?