During one of the 2012 presidential debates, when Barack Obama and Mitt Romney engaged in a spirited debate about tariffs, I remember being struck by the fact that they were debating an issue I had previously only read about in books. What was next, I wondered, hammer-and-tongs over the free coinage of silver? 

It struck me then that an entire political industry had been built up to re-litigate issues I had thought long settled. In the judiciary, this entailed chipping away piecemeal at landmark decisions. The legislature then used the judiciary’s work to craft laws to render what remained of those landmark decisions impractical in real life.

Read the rest of Charlie Pierce’s piece at Esquire Politics