The most famous example of an American filibuster was, ironically, fictional - Jimmy Stewart's epic stand on the Senate floor for hours before collapsing from exhaustion in the movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."
But several real senators put up historic roadblocks by filibustering for hours on the floor. Sen. Rand Paul, who on Wednesday filibustered against CIA nominee John Brennan over concerns about the drone program, is just the latest.
Here are some examples throughout American history:
The late Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., holds the record for the longest filibuster. In 1957, Thurmond spoke for just over 24 hours straight in an effort to block the Civil Rights Act. Thurmond eventually ran out of things to say and began reading from a telephone book.
In 1992, former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato seized the floor to protest Smith Corona's decision to shift typewriter manufacturing jobs from New York to Mexico.
In 2010, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., protested the president's tax proposal, speaking for eight hours and 37 minutes.
The Sanders blockage, though, was not a true filibuster as the Senate was in a quiet period. There was no pending business and Sanders was not blocking others from speaking or holding up matters.
Perhaps the last true filibuster occurred in 2003, when Sen. Harry Reid began reading from his book "Searchlight" for roughly nine hours. It was an effort to hold up the GOP from approving some judicial nominations made by President George W. Bush.