The latest micro-battle when it comes to the Roberts Supreme Court nomination process is over access to past tax returns. This will, of course, just be one small element in several days or weeks of positioning and politicking.
But the details of this nomination (and let’s be realistic, its a go, period) are really just a story within the broader story of this era.
So what’s the big story? It’s the one many of us don’t want to think about, much less accept: One can easily make the argument that we are one robe away from seeing battles we thought were long over, reopened, refought, and resulting in very different outcomes.
Prayer in schools. Come on, we’ve been there and done that right? Debates over the teaching of evolution in school. Wait, am I watching Fox News or a remake of Inherit the Wind? What’s next, restrictions on free speech based on the split second unveiling of a nipple belonging to an android pop star?
Cultural questions that many Americans assumed were asked and answered years if not decades ago are back in a big way.
One side assumed these debates were over, and they stopped fighting. The other side didn’t get the memo and they are running at a full sprint right now.
The broader issue is not Roberts, but rather that the cultural and intellectual issues many thought were on solid ground are actually hanging by a thread.