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The “Gang of 14"

After the 2004 elections, Senate Republicans found their power enhanced. In the previous congress, Senate Democrats ten times killed President George W. Bush’s nominations of conservative appellate court judges by threatening to filibuster. Now, with a 55-vote majority, Republicans announced the possibility of changing Senate rules to forbid the use of filibuster in considering judicial nominations — a change to the staid and traditional rules of the Senate so unprecedented that Republican Sen. Trent Lott nicknamed it “the nuclear option.” With Democratic leadership unwilling to stop filibustering nominations and Republican leadership threatening to change the rules of debate, it was a group of 14 senators — seven from each side — who stepped in to broker a peace. The so-called “Gang of 14” came to a written agreement: Democrats would not filibuster judicial nominations and Republicans would drop “the nuclear option.” With seven senators from each side part of the deal, it effectively meant that neither party had enough votes to rescind their portion.

2005-01-01 00:00:00

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