Fifty-nine senators, representing (as explained here) some 63 percent of the American public, accompanied by a large House majority and a president recently elected with 70 million votes, cannot enact changes in the nation's health-care system that have been debated for decades.
A 59-41 margin is not enough for a change of this magnitude.
Five Justices of the Supreme Court, outvoting their four colleagues, can work a fundamental change in election law that goes far beyond the issues presented by the parties to the case...Courts always have the option of deciding cases narrowly or broadly. The breadth of this one, reaching far beyond the merits of the case so as to enact the majority Justices' views, is staggering even to a non-lawyer like me. A one-person margin* is enough for a change of this magnitude.
In the least accountable branch of government, the narrowest margin prevails; in our elected legislative branch, substantial majorities are neutered.
More from Fallows here.