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Miers Nomination: The Gang Meets

The bipartisan group of 14 senators that averted a showdown over President Bush's judicial nominees earlier this year is set to meet today to discuss the nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

The "Gang of 14," as the group is often called, will gather today in the Hart Senate Office Building at 4:30 p.m. ET, with Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson (D) playing host. All but one of the 14 senators will be in attendance, according to an informed Democratic source. Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman (D) will be the only absentee as he observes a Jewish holiday.

The Gang of 14 membership includes a number of senators being targeted in 2006, including: Nelson, West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd (D), Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine (R) and Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R).

Sources familiar with the meeting paint it as a chance for members to get a sense of where their colleagues in the Gang of 14 stand on Miers and address any major problems that any of them might have. 

The meeting may be the first step in a return to prominence for the group -- comprised of seven Republicans and seven Democrats.  Back in May, the 14 senators came together and negotiated a compromise that allowed final votes on several of President Bush's judicial nominees while also banning the use of the filibuster against future nominees unless "extraordinary circumstances" arose.  The compromise was aimed at averting the so-called "nuclear option," in which the GOP majority would amend Senate rules to forbid filibusters on judicial nominees altogether.

The group met twice during the Roberts confirmation process, but the stakes in the Miers nomination are seen as higher since she may tip the court's balance on key issues like abortion.  As The Post's Dan Balz noted back in May, the "fragile compromise that averted a Senate showdown over judicial filibusters last week deliberately left unanswered the crucial issue likely to be at the heart of a debate over a future Supreme Court vacancy: Can Democrats filibuster a nominee on the grounds that he or she is too conservative without triggering the 'nuclear option'?"

The ever-reliable Wikipedia has an extensive entry on the group.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 5, 2005; 12:29 PM ET
Categories:  Politics and the Court  
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Very interesting is this blog

Posted by: Dublin Accommodation | March 22, 2006 9:43 AM | Report abuse

What does the gang of 14 deserve?

Posted by: Robert | October 8, 2005 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Once Miss Miers is approved, I hope she and the other justices will give the Gang of 14 what it deserves.

Posted by: Alaric Funtley | October 6, 2005 1:33 PM | Report abuse

That mysterious Jewish holiday is called Rosh Hashanah, ever heard of it, Chris? ;)

Posted by: Malik | October 6, 2005 12:15 PM | Report abuse

This description is inaccurate:
"The compromise was aimed at averting the so-called 'nuclear option,' in which the GOP majority would amend Senate rules to forbid filibusters on judicial nominees altogether."

The process of actually amending the Rules of the Senate requires much more than the simple majority the Republicans possess. Instead, this was to be a coup: the Vice-President, in his role as President of the Senate, would simply rule the Filibuster is not permitted under Senate rules, and his RULING would only need the simple majority.

This was most decidedly NOT "amending" Senate rules. This was an unprecedented power grab by the majority party and, as the Parliamentarian of the Senate noted, it would run counter to the current rules of the body. Let's call it what it is, and not what the Republican leadership spins it as.

Posted by: JR | October 6, 2005 9:31 AM | Report abuse

At this point the Republicans may not want to use the "nuclear option" because they could lose power in 2006.

Posted by: Robert | October 6, 2005 12:22 AM | Report abuse

I'm pleased to hear that Sen. Lieberman observed both days. It would be nice to see every Jew observe all the Yom Tovs.

Posted by: Daniel | October 5, 2005 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Gimme a break here guys. Nick and Jessica?

I'm happy to see we can use terms like "nuclear option" in the Senate. Doesn't that just scream "screwed up"?

The Gang of 14 won't pull a miracle out of this nominee. I believe Miers may be too far gone for even Republicans to want to save. Just read the reports on key officals and figureheads coming out of DC about it, like Trent Lott, and its easy to see it will take a Gang of 55 to get this through.

Posted by: Nick D. | October 5, 2005 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Wait...Nick and Jessica broke up?

Posted by: Thomas | October 5, 2005 3:22 PM | Report abuse

How can the Fix ignore the biggest news of the day?? I demand an item about the breakup of Nick and Jessica. What does this mean for the midterms?

Posted by: Art Vandelay | October 5, 2005 2:59 PM | Report abuse

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