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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Whatever Happened to the Gang of 14?

As a previous post noted, Majority Leader Reid recently exercised the "nuclear option" to end filibusters of most executive and judicial nominees.  In 2005, the prospect of such a move prompted a bipartisan group of senator -- The Gang of 14 -- to reach an agreement: the seven Democrats agreed not to block certain judicial nominees and the seven Republicans promised not to vote for the nuclear option.

Without the former, the Democratic minority could not sustain a filibuster.  Without the latter, the Republican majority could not pass the nuclear option.

So why did the Gang of 14 not re-emerge in 2013?  For one thing, nine of its members have left the Senate, either through death (Byrd, Inouye), retirement (Lieberman, Nelson, Warner, Snowe), appointment to other office (Salazar), or defeat (Chafee, DeWine).  Only the bolded names are left.


  1. Robert Byrd (West Virginia) -- died June 28, 2010
  2. Daniel Inouye (Hawaii) -- died December 17, 2012
  3. Mary Landrieu (Louisiana)
  4. Joseph Lieberman (Connecticut) -- did not seek reelection in 2012
  5. Ben Nelson (Nebraska) -- did not seek reelection in 2012
  6. Mark Pryor (Arkansas)
  7. Ken Salazar (Colorado) -- resigned in 2009 to become Secretary of Interior


  1. Lincoln Chafee (Rhode Island) -- defeated for reelection in 2006
  2. Susan Collins (Maine)
  3. Mike DeWine (Ohio) -- defeated for reelection in 2006
  4. Lindsey Graham (South Carolina)
  5. John McCain (Arizona)
  6. John Warner (Virginia) -- did not seek reelection in 2008
  7. Olympia Snowe (Maine) -- did not seek reelection in 2012