The Corner

Politics & Policy

Another Problem with David French’s Deal

Ramesh Ponnuru has an excellent argument against the sort of deal that has been advocated by David French; a man I have immense respect for and was proud to host at Cornell last September. French proposes that Republicans hold off on confirming a new Supreme Court justice so that if Biden wins, they can bargain with Democrats and get their assurance that they will not pack the court.

Ponnuru’s arguments are mainly practical, but I think that the most glaring issue with this deal is that it’s an example of asymmetric bargaining. Republicans do not use the powers duly granted to them by the voters and Constitution. In exchange, Democrats will not change the rules of the game and pack the Supreme Court. That’s like you offering not to burn my house to the ground if and only if I don’t go buy myself a carton of milk to use for my cereal.

A political system where one faction has to hold off from using legitimate power to take completely justifiable actions in order to stop another faction from doing something as plainly destructive as court-packing is a broken one. As bad as things are, I don’t think we’re there yet.