Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (left) talks about Goodwin Liu, judicial nominee for a seat on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in the Capitol. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Daniel Inouye also appear.
In 2005, the bipartisan gang of 14 blocked then-Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) from invoking the “constitutional option” or “nuclear option,” which would have forced a Senate rules change to bar filibusters of judicial nominees. The agreement in 2005 held that the seven Democrats and seven Republicans in the pact would only filibuster a judicial nominee under “extraordinary circumstances.” After that group established its rules, several nominees whom Democrats had been blocking since 2003 were confirmed.
Just last week, Republicans also successfully blocked Obama’s nominee for deputy Attorney General, James Cole.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.