Lauren C. Bell
Randolph-Macon College Associate Dean and
Political Science Professor Lauren Cohen Bell is the author of
The Filibuster is Dead: Long Live the Filibuster, which was published
on February 4, 2013 on ForeignAffairs.com, the online presence of Foreign Affairs,
a pre-eminent journal of world affairs.
“Foreign Affairs asked me to update my earlier analysis of the filibuster in light
of the Senate’s recent filibuster reforms,” explains Bell. “I had previously cautioned
that significant reforms were unlikely and even potentially harmful for the Senate,
and indeed the recent reforms stopped short of the major changes that many Senate-watchers
had hoped for. Most of the changes will expire in two years. And those that are
permanent just reinforce what was already possible—moving forward with legislation
when there is consensus about doing so.”
Bell’s earlier essay,
Fixing the Filibuster: Why It's Easier Said Than Done, was published
on Foreign Affairs.com on December 19, 2012. Bell was asked to write that piece
after she was quoted in the November 24, 2012 New York Times article,
The Senate’s Long Slide to Gridlock.
About Fixing the Filibuster, she says: “The majority party leadership in
the Senate was promising to change the chamber’s rules of procedure to make it easier
to prevent filibusters from happening.” “But every time the Senate has tried to
reduce or eliminate the filibuster, gridlock in the chamber has gotten worse. The
editors of Foreign Affairs.com asked me to describe the history and dynamics of
Bell is the author of Filibustering in the U.S. Senate (Cambria Press,
2011). The book and her other writings on filibusters attempt to dispel prevalent
myths and misconceptions about filibusters. “There are a lot of misconceptions about
filibusters," she says. "Many people envision the classic filibuster scene in 'Mr.
Smith Goes to Washington,' but very few filibusters actually look like that anymore.”
Bell is also the author of Warring Factions: Interest Groups, Money, and the New
Politics of Senate Confirmation and The U.S. Congress: A Simulation for Students,
as well as co-author of Perspectives on Political Communication: A Case Approach
with Randolph-Macon colleagues Ted Sheckels and Joan Conners. Her work has appeared
in The Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, The
Journal of Legislative Studies, The Journal of Public Administration Research
and Theory, and Judicature.
Bell, who joined the faculty at R-MC in 1999, earned her B.A. from the College of
Wooster, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from The Carl Albert Congressional Research and
Studies Center at The University of Oklahoma. She served as an American Political
Science Association Congressional Fellow on the United States Senate Committee on
the Judiciary during the 1997–1998 academic year and was the United States Supreme
Court Fellow at the United States Sentencing Commission in Washington, D.C. in 2006–2007.