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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    King, Aaron S. Orlando, Frank J. and Rohde, David 2016. Setting the Table: Majority Party Effects in the United States Senate. Congress & the Presidency, Vol. 43, Issue. 1, p. 55.

    Patty, John W. 2016. Signaling through Obstruction. American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 60, Issue. 1, p. 175.

    Ostrander, Ian 2015. The Contemporary Presidency: Powering Down the Presidency: The Rise and Fall of Recess Appointments. Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 45, Issue. 3, p. 558.

    Wirls, Daniel 2015. Staggered Terms for the US Senate: Origins and Irony. Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol. 40, Issue. 3, p. 471.

    Black, Ryan C. Madonna, Anthony J. and Owens, Ryan J. 2014. Qualifications or Philosophy? The Use of Blue Slips in a Polarized Era. Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 44, Issue. 2, p. 290.

    Smith, Steven S. Ostrander, Ian and Pope, Christopher M. 2013. Majority Party Power and Procedural Motions in the U.S. Senate. Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol. 38, Issue. 2, p. 205.

    Madonna, Anthony J. 2011. Winning Coalition Formation in the U.S. Senate: The Effects of Legislative Decision Rules and Agenda Change. American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 55, Issue. 2, p. 276.


Going Nuclear, Senate Style

  • Sarah A. Binder (a1), Anthony J. Madonna (a2) and Steven S. Smith (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 December 2007

Conflict within and beyond the United States Senate has refocused scholarly and public attention on “advice and consent,” the constitutional provision that governs the Senate's role in confirming presidential appointments. Despite intense and salient partisan and ideological disputes about the rules of the game that govern the Senate confirmation process for judicial appointees, reformers have had little success in limiting the ability of a minority to block contentious nominees. In this paper, we explore the Senate's brush with the so-called “nuclear option” that would eliminate filibusters of judicial nominees, and evaluate competing accounts of why the Senate appears to be so impervious to significant institutional reform. The past and present politics of the nuclear option, we conclude, have broad implications for how we construct theories of institutional change.Sarah A. Binder is Professor of Political Science at George Washington University and a Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution ( Anthony Madonna is a Ph.D. candidate at Washington University ( Steven S. Smith is the Kate M. Gregg Professor of Social Sciences, Professor of Political Science, and Director of the Weidenbaum Center, Washington University ( The authors thank Stanley Bach, Richard Baker, Greg Koger, Forrest Maltzman, Elizabeth Rybicki, Eric Schickler, and Greg Wawro for helpful comments and advice.

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Perspectives on Politics
  • ISSN: 1537-5927
  • EISSN: 1541-0986
  • URL: /core/journals/perspectives-on-politics
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