Gillespie in Newsday: Cheer Up, Losers! Settle Down, Winners! SCOTUS Isn't the Last Word on Anything (Hooray and Alas)!


I've got a piece related to Obamacare whose veracity should survive whatever decision is announced in a few hours:

Here's an unsettling truth that should temper bitter resentment, unrestrained ecstasy, and any mix of feelings at today's outcome: The Supreme Court almost never changes the course of history. It might speed up or slow down the direction in which we're headed — and lord knows, it's made some genuinely terrible decisions over the years — but the role the Court plays is mostly to certify social, cultural and political trends, not to start them….

[That's not to say] the Court can't make better or worse decisions, or ones that are more popular or less popular. The 2005 decision Kelo v. New London, for instance, sanctioned governments to useeminent domain under virtually any circumstance, prompting a huge backlash at the state and local level to greatly narrow when elected officials might seize property for the so-called public good.

The plain fact is that the Supreme Court is never the last word on anything. Its justices "may not read the headlines," in the sense that they follow public opinion closely, but the court itself is generally a lagging indicator of what's really happening in the country. That's an insight that should give some succor to today's losers — and temper the enthusiasm of today's victors.

Read the whole thing here.