Gang of 14 Nonsense

by Ed Whelan

I see that reports of, and commentary on, the Halligan cloture vote are replete with ridiculous claims that Republican opposition to cloture somehow violates the long-expired Gang of 14 agreement. I’ll be unavailable for the rest of the morning, but I will set forth in detail later the elementary points that (1) the Gang of 14 agreement applied by its terms only during 2005 and 2006; (2) that, after its adoption, Democratic non-signatories (including then-Senator Obama and Senator Schumer) continued to oppose cloture on Bush 43 nominees and clearly never regarded the Gang of 14 agreement’s “extraordinary circumstances” standard as limiting how they should act (see point 1 here); (3) that Democratic obstruction of Bush 43 nominees increased, rather than abated, after the Gang of 14 agreement expired; and (4) that Republican signatories to the Gang of 14 agreement who voted against cloture cannot reasonably be said to have violated even the spirit of that long-expired agreement.

I’ll also highlight my previous rebuttal (see point 2 here) to the claim that Republicans who previously opposed the filibuster are hypocrites for now resorting to it.

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