Thursday, July 14, 2005

Gang of 14 Meeting Update

Well it's only taken all day, but finally some word has appeared about what happened in this morning's meeting of the Gang of 14. Reuters reports on the meeting, featuring quotes from several participants, who spoke with reporters after the session concluded.

Some highlights:

- Ben Nelson (D-NE): "The environment now is such that that the president has reached out, and that is appreciated by everyone."

- John Warner (R-VA): "We all expressed mutual confidence and praise for the manner in which the president has initiated 'the advice and consent.'"

On the question of what constitutes "extraordinary circumstances," Robert Byrd (D-WV) continued with the "you'll know it when you see it" mantra.

Mike DeWine (R-OH) said "Look, the president is going to appoint someone who is conservative and there are going to be Democrats who don't like it. But because of the tone that has been set, I think the odds are pretty good we're not going to have a filibuster."

Joe Lieberman (D-CT) agreed, but added (as I said last night) that this remains to be seen: "The president won re-election, and with that the right to choose the nominee. He can nominate someone who will be broadly acceptable. He can nominate someone who will be controversial but not so far out of the mainstream to engender a filibuster or he can nominate someone who will be very confrontational and bring on a filibuster. I'm encouraged to believe that he will go for option one or two."

I have to say, at this point I'm still fairly encouraged by that prospect too. Obviously it's still too early to tell, but I have been very intrigued at some of the new names that are beginning to be circulated as possible candidates, some of which are surprisingly centrist and would not only be excellent choices to replace Justice O'Connor, but would probably meet with wide acclaim across the board.

No information yet on whether the Gang scheduled further meetings, or any other topics that were discussed.

[Update: The New York Times will report in Friday editions that twelve of the fourteen members of the Gang were present at Thursday's meeting, and that the group has agreed to meet again once Bush has announced a nominee, "and perhaps before." -- 9:37 p.m.]


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