10 terms

Lesson Plan: The Nuclear Option Vocabulary

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Filibuster
The practice of extending debate in the United States Senate to allow for all sides to be heard
Cloture
A parliamentary procedure by which debate is ended and an immediate vote is taken on the matter under discussion. 60 votes required to invoke.
Nuclear option
A term used to describe ending the filibuster procedure; relates to the view that ending the filibuster would eliminate the opportunity for the minority party to be heard
Constitutional option
A term used to describe ending the filibuster procedure; relates to the view that ending the filibuster is to restore majority (51%) rule in the Senate for judicial appointments. Advocates contend that the procedure is in keeping with Senate traditions
Judicial nominees
People who have been appointed by the President to serve on federal courts
Democrat position on the filibuster controversy
POSITION: Pro-filibuster; it offers the minority an opportunity to be heard in its opposition to proposed legislation or senate action. It is a vital check established by our founding fathers in keeping with the Constitution's demand that appointments are to be made with the Advice and Consent of the Senate (the entire Senate; filibusters give each nominee a vote)
Republican position on the filibuster controversy
POSITION: Anti-filibuster; a minority of Senators are using the filibuster to stop the Senate from exercising its Constitutional duty to advise and give consent. Instead of thoughtful deliberation and debate, one minority side threatens to obstruct government itself if it doesn't get its way.
Filibuster history
The filibuster was not a part of the Framers' design; it came out of an accidental rules change in the early 1800s.
Up or down vote
A simple majority (51%) vote to make a decision. This method is used in most Senate actions on legislation and rules decisions
Advice and consent
A directive to the Senate to assist the President in making treaties and appointments to federal positions