The Supreme Court: Following ‘th’ iliction returns’

June 26, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: Voting.
Finley Peter Dunne

Rarely has there been a more predictable set of rulings than those announced by the Supreme Court today.

That wisdom haunts the Supreme Court’s pomposity, and it is particularly apropos in today’s cases. Was there ever any doubt about what the Supreme Court would do in the gay marriage cases, particularly in light of the way that public opinion has shifted on this issue.

In his essay on the Court, Dunne pokes fun at the pomposity of the Court and its watchers — including journalists — and says:

“F’r awhile ivrybody watched to see what th’ supreme coort wud do. I knew mesilf I felt I cudden’t make another move in th’ game till I heerd fr’m thim. Buildin’ op’rations was suspinded an’ we sthud wringin’ our hands outside th’ dure waitin’ f’r information fr’m th’ beside.

“‘What they doin’ now?’

“‘They just put th’ argymints iv larned counsel in th’ ice box an’ th’ chief justice is in a corner writin’ a pome. . . .

“An’ so it wint f’r days, an’ weeks an’ months.”

For days and weeks and months, we’ve known what the Court would do. Finley Peter Dunne told us last century.


The latter part of the 19th century produced a number of outstanding and well-remembered newspaper humorists. Chief among them is Mark Twain (seated, second from right), but others (beginning at left) include David Ross Locke, whose pen name was Petroleum V. Nasby and was one of the era’s great political satirists; Finely Peter Dunne, who often viewed the world as Martin Dooley, an Irish immigrant and saloonkeeper; Ambrose Bierce, a San Francisco journalist who was bitter and caustic in his observations; George Peck, a Wisconsin publisher who created the mischievous Peck’s Bad Boy; and Edgar Wilson (Bill) Nye, a westerner who came to New York and viewed what he saw with a simple but amazingly funny point of view.

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