It's becoming a rout.
It's still a very conservative court led by a very conservative Chief Justice. And yet even the justices could see the writing on the wall. Same-sex marriage is here to stay.
Chief Justice John Roberts was not going to be on the wrong side of history. He was not going to be the Roger Taney of his age. Taney was Chief Justice of the court that issued the Dred Scott decision, in which he wrote that African Americans "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect," and that therefore a fugitive slave could be returned to his owner.
Those were maybe the most disgusting words to come out of any official action of any branch or agency of the federal government. Roberts, who found a way not to overturn Obamacare, was not about to see himself assume a Taney-like infamy in history by upholding same sex marriage bans. He has found a way to escape that trap.
But the bigger picture is even more encouraging. The court only did what the public was demanding. And it was only a few years ago that this would have been unthinkable. It was pretty much only yesterday when no serious mainstream politician found it safe to come out for same-sex marriage. Now it's pretty much required of Democratic candidates, and most Republicans would just rather not talk about it.
And same-sex marriage is only the start. It comes out of a growing liberal majority rooted in demographics and geography. Cities are home to liberals and they are growing. An interesting op-ed in yesterday's New York Times argues that even Texas is becoming a state that is in play for Democratic candidates in part because of a rapidly growing Hispanic population, but also due to its growing cities.
But here's the problem we need to work on. Liberals concentrate themselves while conservatives spread out. That's why the Wisconsin Legislature and Congress remains so far to the right while the public as a whole is moving to the left. Part of it is redistricting, but a lot of it is also attributable to how we spread ourselves out on the physical landscape.
So what may be coming is increasing frustration as a liberal majority in the population as a whole finds itself stymied by entrenched conservatives in legislatures and in Congress. The culture wars may continue with a stubborn resistance holding on to heavily barricaded institutions while the masses gather around them.
The trick will be to ride this out until the next census when another round of redistricting might deliver more fair representation that reflects where the country is really at. Patience, more than ever, is going to be a virtue.