Ramesh and Matthew are correct: the McCain Gang of 14 was a disaster that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on judicial nominations.
In May 2005, Senate Republican leadership had worked for months to make sure they had the votes for the constitutional option. We were ready to put an end to judicial filibusters that liberals had used to kill great nominations.
And then Senator McCain and his Gang of 14 arrogated the power to their little clique to determine what nominees would make it and what nominees would not, based on a subjective and undefined standard.
I double checked with someone who was very close to the process inside the Senate at the time, and that source confirmed: “Senator Frist was ready to execute the constitional option and McCain stopped it. Period.”