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Esteemed Colleagues

Civility and Deliberation in the U.S. Senate

edited by Burdett A. Loomis

Publication Year: 2000

What¡'s happened to the longstanding traditions of civility and decorum within the world's greatest deliberative body? While the Senate hasn't yet become as rancorous as the House, over the past three decades it has grown noticeably less collegial. In Esteemed Colleagues, leading congressional scholars address the extent to which civility has declined in the U.S. Senate, and how that decline has affected our political system. The contributors analyze the relationships between Senators, shaped by high levels of both individualism and partisanship, and how these ties shape the deliberation of issues before the chamber. Civility and deliberation have changed in recent decades, up to and including the Clinton impeachment process, and the book sheds light on both the current American politics and the broad issues of representation, responsiveness, and capacity within our governmental institutions.

Published by: Brookings Institution Press

Title Page

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p. iii-iii

Copyright Page

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p. iv-iv

Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

...debts. The largest goes to the Pew Charitable Trusts, which, through its public policy program, funded the conference that commissioned these papers. In particular, I am indebted to Paul Light, Michael Delli Carpini,and Rebecca Rimel for supporting an examination of Senate deliberation.The Pew grant was administered by the Aspen Institute, and Aspen’s...

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Chapter One: Civility and Deliberation: A Linked Pair?

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pp. 1-12

We are, after all, a representative democracy—a mirror held up to America. . . . In a democracy differences are not only unavoidable—if pursued with civility as well as conviction, they are downright however much we may want to romanticize the “world’s greatest deliberative body,” the cold fact remains that the 1980s and 1990s have...

Part I: Civility in the U.S. Senate

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p. 13-13

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Chapter Two: Constitutional Cohabitation

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pp. 15-31

...alone among elected officials of the U.S. federal government, senators share the representation of a constituency with another individual.The decision, on the part of the Framers of the Constitution, as to the number of senators accorded each state does not seem to have been a very contentious one.1 Giving each state a single senator was rejected because...

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Chapter Three: Is the Senate More Civil than the House?

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pp. 32-58

...the debate on impeaching President Bill Clinton in the House of Representatives was marked by a “distrust [that] is so deep-seated and enduring that there are only down ticks in the steady rise in animosity.”1Representative Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) admonished the Republican majority that voted to impeach the president on an almost strict party-line vote: ...

Part II: A Deliberative Institution

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p. 57-57

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Chapter Four: Individualism, Partisanship, and Cooperation in the Senate

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pp. 59-77

...the senate is unique among legislative chambers; no other legislature grants its members as individuals so much latitude in the legislative process. Extended debate allows any senator to hold the floor as long as he or she wishes unless cloture is invoked, which now requires a supermajority of sixty votes. The Senate’s permissive amending rules enable senators to...

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Chapter Five: The Procedural Context of Senate Deliberation

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pp. 78-104

...“i think we are dealing here with sort of a Molotov minuet. Every-thing we have tried to do, we are being met with, ‘No. Nyet.’”1 So complained a frustrated Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), in late June 1999, as he sought agreement with Democratic leaders on a procedure for considering managed health care reform on the Senate floor....

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Chapter Six: Last among Equals: The Senate's Presiding Officer

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pp. 105-136

...in the final days of the Constitutional Convention, the Framers placed the vice president at the head of the Senate. The Framers had given little thought to the creation of the vice presidency; the office itself was a by-product of the process for choosing a president. They gave even less attention to the consequences of naming the vice president the Senate’s presiding...

Part III: Senate Deliberation in Context

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p. 135-135

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Chapter Seven: Constituency Size and the Strategic Behavior of Senators

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pp. 137-163

Americans take the representational basis of the U.S. Senate for granted. Although it was the issue of greatest contention at the Constitutional Convention, equal representation of states in the Senate has generated little concern since ratification. Yet the Senate’s apportionment scheme has profound consequences for this legislative institution and for the ...

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Chapter Eight: Senators and Reporters Revisited

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pp. 164-193

...the state of civility and deliberation in today’s Senate cannot escape comparison with the Senate of the 1950s.1 Donald Matthews’s U.S. Senators and Their World constitutes the finest and fullest account of that era.His portrait is well remembered: an insular, clubby, efficient institution with its own “folkways” of hard work, specialization, devotion to the...

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Chapter Nine: The Senate and the Executive

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pp. 194-219

...the ties between the senate and the executive branch are complex and interdependent. The Constitution itself dictates a special relationship between the two entities. Presidential nominations of individuals to serve in both the federal judiciary and the executive branch must be approved with the “advice and consent” of the Senate. Treaties with other nations...

Part IV: Civility and Deliberation in Practice

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p. 221-221

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Chapter Ten: Civility, Deliberation, and Impeachment

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pp. 223-240

On December 19, 1998, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) took to the floor of the House of Representatives, soon after Representative Bob Livingston (R-La.) had announced his intention to resign from the House before his impending election as Speaker of the House, and just before the House was prepared to vote for articles of impeachment of the president of the United States. Gephardt implored the...

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Chapter Eleven: The Senate Budget Committee: Bastion of Comity?

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pp. 241-258

...comity refers to the norms, such as reciprocity and mutual respect,that sustain cordial relations in legislative bodies and facilitate the bar-gaining essential in policy making.1 Some level of civility is essential to a member’s willingness to listen to colleagues, to learn from other legislators, and to accept the outcome of deliberation, especially in the ...


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pp. 259-260


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pp. 261-273

E-ISBN-13: 9780815798972
E-ISBN-10: 0815798970

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2000