What was supposed to happen next? The secret, which you probably guessed but which you told yourself over and over again to ignore because the eventual day of reckoning seemed so far off, is that the leaders of the Republican Party these 20 years have not desired that there should be a “next.” The moment when finally it was time to seize upon a case — of which any number could be made to purpose overnight if a red-state legislature decided to ban or otherwise severely restrict abortion — and banish Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood and all their works and pomps to the outer darkness was meant never to arrive. If it did there would be no earthly reason for most of you to support this party, at least not in the same way in which so many of you have been accustomed to do; provisionally, tactically, under the right set of circumstances, you and they might do business (to put it in their lingo), but from thence forth your allegiance could not be counted upon. It would have to be earned.

Will this contingency, alternately dreaded and prayed for but always somehow impossibly remote, arrive anyway? It is difficult to say at this early juncture. But it is clear that one way or another the long period of movement activity in the sense in which it has long been understood is over. Either the gambit has succeeded and future Justice Kavanaugh and his coevals will one day accomplish that high purpose for which you were led to believe they had been appointed — or all your energy will have been misspent.