When in the course of American history, the Supreme Court of the United States has delivered an opinion that the public regards as outrageous, it sets in motion the political equivalent of Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion: "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."
Such was the case in 1857 when Chief Justice Roger Taney's Court issued the obscene ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford which condemned Scott to a life of slavery. The reaction to that decision was growing support for the aggressively antislavery Republican Party, established only three years earlier,. Thus in the next presidential election its candidate, Abraham Lincoln, was the winner. The South, in its turn, reacted by passing eleven ordinances of secession that brought on the Civil War.
In 2012, 155 years after the Dred Scott decision, the Supreme Court has ruled, in effect, that all Americans are slaves, that whatever shall be decreed by the powers-that-be in Washington shall be the law of the land, regardless of the consequences for the limited government established by the Constitution of 1787. The Court, ruling flexibly through the viewpoint that the Constitution is a "living" document, has proven it can find a legal justification for whatever fiat law emanates from the White House or the Capitol.
It was in like manner that the Stuart kings of England, at least until 1642, were able to find judges to support their expanding concepts of the royal prerogative, regardless of their conflict with the traditional, unwritten constitution of England. The immediate consequence was catastrophic: the English Civil War. Among its longer-term consequences, however, was the establishment of the philosophy of limited government which is the foundation of our written Constitution.
President Obama, following the Court's ruling, commented that it is "time for us to move forward." This call, echoing the slogans of authoritarian movements of the 1920s and 1930s, is somewhat disquieting. So long as the American people remain quiescent, he shall continue to move our country towards whatever end state he has in mind.
On the other hand, if what might be called Newton's Law of Politics has any validity at all, there is at least a possibility that a significant number of the American people will give their active support to the Tea Party movement, which is as old now as the Republican Party was at the time of Dred Scott. Then - at least if the presidential election of 2012 is to be a free one, untainted by corrupt influences - the people will have the final say in the matter. If not, the Constitution of 1787 will have become, in effect, a dead letter.