There Can Be No 'Grand Bargain' Over the Supreme Court Seat, Republicans Better Realize That

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., listens as Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., speaks to media on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. Some clarity is beginning to emerge from the bipartisan Washington talks on a huge COVID-19 response bill. An exchange of offers and meeting devoted to the Postal Service on Wednesday indicates the White House is moving slightly in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s direction on issues like aid to states and local governments and unemployment insurance benefits. But the negotiations have a long ways to go. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)


As the tensions begin to boil over regarding replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, the hot takes have started to flow from various corners. While most Republicans seem to be resolute in their desire to do their duty and fill the seat, others are suggesting that a “grand bargain” be struck that would prevent the filling of the seat.

While Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have already given away the farm without any preconditions because they are awful, useless politicians, there are also ideas like this being floated. The idea that Republicans “trade” not vote on a nominee for meaningless promises from Democrats that they won’t pack the court

As you can see from my response above, I’m not a fan of this idea.

In fact, I think it’s one of the dumbest political suggestions I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s basically negotiating with a person threatening to blow your brains out with a gun that has no bullets. Not only should something like court packing not be ceded as a negotiating tool because it’s so illegitimate, but Democrats have no leverage anyway.


They do not hold the Senate. But let’s game this out and say they take over in 2021 with a two seat majority, which would be an absolute blow-out for them given current projections. The likelihood that they’d get a majority to vote to pack the court is close to zero. There would be far too many red-state Democrats whose necks are on the line to make a move like that. In other words, even given the rosiest outcome in November for Schumer’s party, he still has no real leverage here.

You know what you do with people who are bad faith actors and have no leverage? You ignore them. You let them throw their fit and you move forward with the process. That anyone would be thinking otherwise who claims to be on the right is mind-blowing.

Further, the idea that giving into Democrats here will somehow heal the nation’s divide is ludicrous and naive. If the GOP doesn’t replace Ginsburg before the election (or in the lame duck), Democrats will still move forward with blowing up the filibuster if they get a chance. The riots won’t stop and Antifa isn’t going away. You can not fix what ails this nation with political olive branches. That a contingent on the right are actually saying that shows just how much we’ve been failed by our supposed intellectual betters in the conservative commentariat.

For their part, Republican office holders better realize the game here and be ready to step up to the plate. There can be no grand bargain. There can be no surrender. This moment is what they were put in office for and if they back down now, voters will burn the party to the ground. A chance to so shift the Supreme Court is not just a once in a generation opportunity. It’s a once in a multi-generation opportunity. Do your job.


(Please follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)



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