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.
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