United States Senate

The United States Senate is one of the two chambers of the United States Congress, with the other being the House of Representatives. Established by Article I of the US Constitution, the Senate serves as the upper house of Congress and plays a crucial role in the legislative process and the functioning of the federal government.

Membership: The Senate consists of 100 members, with each state electing two senators. This equal representation for all states, regardless of their population, is a distinctive feature of the Senate. Senators serve six-year terms, and elections for one-third of the Senate seats are held every two years, ensuring continuity and stability.

Role in legislation: The Senate shares the responsibility of making federal laws with the House of Representatives. For a bill to become law, it must pass both chambers of Congress. The Senate has the authority to propose, amend, and pass legislation, addressing a wide range of national issues such as taxation, budgeting, healthcare, and foreign policy.

Advice and consent: The Senate has the power to provide advice and consent on various presidential appointments and treaties. It confirms or rejects nominations for key positions, including federal judges, cabinet members, and ambassadors. The Senate also ratifies treaties negotiated by the executive branch, requiring a two-thirds majority vote.

Filibuster and cloture: The Senate has a unique procedural tool called the filibuster, which allows senators to delay or block a vote on legislation by speaking for an extended period. Filibusters can be overcome by invoking cloture, a procedure that requires a three-fifths majority vote (currently 60 out of 100 senators) to limit debate and proceed to a final vote.

Committee system: The Senate operates through a committee system, with various standing committees specialising in specific policy areas such as finance, judiciary, foreign relations, and agriculture. Committees play a crucial role in conducting hearings, reviewing legislation, and making recommendations before bills reach the Senate floor for debate and voting.

Leadership and organisation: The Senate is led by the Vice President of the United States, who serves as the President of the Senate but can only vote in the event of a tie. The Senate also elects its own leadership, including the Majority Leader, Minority Leader, and other party leaders. These leaders are responsible for guiding their party's legislative agenda and coordinating efforts within the Senate.

Confirmation of judicial nominees: The Senate plays a significant role in confirming federal judicial nominees, including Supreme Court justices. Nominees undergo a confirmation process that involves hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee and a final vote by the full Senate. This process ensures that judicial appointees meet the qualifications and have the necessary temperament to serve as federal judges.

The US Senate's structure, procedures, and powers are designed to balance the representation of states, provide a forum for debate and negotiation, and ensure checks and balances in the legislative process. Its role as the upper house of Congress contributes to the effective functioning of the US government and the formulation of national policies.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
INSEAD
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham
ESSEC Business School

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law

    Terminology

    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

    Exam-focused

    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.