Lauren Cohen Bell

Randolph-Macon College
Political Science

Randolph-Macon College
P.O Box 5005
Ashland, VA

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My current research agenda explores the ways in which legislators in parliaments around the world can use parliamentary procedure to their advantage.

Bell, Lauren C. 2011. Filibustering in the U.S. Senate. Cambria Press.
Abstract: This book remedies the near-complete lack of individual senator-level data available to scholars. Moreover, the dataset that Bell compiles represents a much more comprehensive list of Senate filibusters than any that has previously been compiled. Data are available for the entirety of the period from 1790 to 2008. The text provides a fully current (through the end of the 110th Congress) list of Senate filibusters from the first recorded instance in 1790. This new list undergirds a comprehensive historical analysis of filibusters and a full exploration of both micro-level (individual senator) determinants of filibustering and macro-level (institutional) factors that affect filibustering and its consequences. Beyond compiling and sharing the raw data on who filibusters what, Bell demonstrates that senators' filibustering behavior is frequently an extension of senators' legislative behavior more generally. The book makes it clear that filibustering is simply one strategy among many that senators employ as they try to advance their sometimes competing goals of representing their constituents, serving their political parties, and crafting good legislation. Building on work by Franklin L. Burdette (1940), Richard S. Beth (1994), and Gregory Wawro and Eric Schickler (2006). Filibustering in the US Senate offers a readable, accessible analysis that clarifies the meaning of important terms and offers practical insights into the uses-and abuses-of Senate legislative procedures. The timeliness of Filibustering in the US Senate, its interesting subject matter, and the accessible nature of the analysis will appeal to general and professional readers of political studies, as well as to practitioners in government.
Rosenthal, Cindy Simon, and Lauren Cohen Bell. 2003. “From Passive to Active Representation: The Case of Women Congressional Staff." Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (JPART) 13 (1).
Abstract: Missing from most studies of congressional staff is the insight gained from the representative bureaucracy literature that descriptive characteristics may affect the behavior of unelected bureaucrats. In considering congressional representation as an activity mediated by staff, we ask: Does descriptive representation of congressional committee staff lead to substantivernrepresentation? We explore this question, using gender as our descriptive characteristic of interest. We produce a typology of staff roles developed through in-depth interviews about two cases that illustrate how institutional factors affect and constrain women staffers? contributions as substantive representatives for issues concerning women. We posit that passive representation translates into the active representation only when: 1) interest groups hold expectations for passive representation on an issue and then in turn demand some level of active representation; 2) a staff member possesses the necessary resources of interest, expertise, and status, and 3) the opportunity structure of member-staff relations, staff autonomy, and political salience coincide. When these conditions are less than optimal, active representation will not occur.
Bell, Lauren Cohen. 2002. Warring Factions: Interest Groups, Money, and the New Politics of Senate Confirmation. Columbus, Ohio: The Ohio State University Press.
Abstract: Warring Factions focuses on the United States Senate's confirmation process, the constitutional process the Senate uses to approve or reject the president's choices to fill federal government positions. It is a book about history, the evolution, and, argubly, the decline of the process. Most significantly, it is a book that demonstrates the extent to which interest groups and money have transformed the Senate's confirmation process into a virtual circus. Based on in-depth research, including two dozen original interviews with United States senators, former senators and Senate staff members and interest group leaders, this volume demonstrates that today's confirmation process is nothing more than an extension of the Senate's legislative work. Changes to internal Senate norms in the 1960s and 1970s, coupled with changes to the external political environment, have allowed interest groups to dominate the Senate confirmation process.
Bell, Lauren C., and Kevin M. Scott. 2006. “Policy Statements or Symbolic Politics?: Explaining Congressional Court-Stripping Attempts.” Judicature 89 (4).
Abstract: This article expands upon what is known about the relationship between the courts and Congress by collecting and analyzing individual-level data on a variety of congressional court-limiting measures introduced by membersrnof the United States House of Representatives between the 93rd and 106th congresses.

Substantive Focus:
Law and Policy PRIMARY
Governance SECONDARY

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Process Theory SECONDARY
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation PRIMARY