Debates about constitutional rights often take the form of either-or propositions. Either the Supreme Court must take an iron stand on high principle, come what may, or we are left with a world of politics-takes-all.
More often than not, that intuition is right. But sometimes, the court can take a few lessons from the sweet science of boxing. Great fighters don’t always win the fight in a toe-to-toe slug match. In hard fights, it can take a bit of fancy footwork. As I argue in this piece, that’s exactly what’s needed in a confrontation between the Supreme Court and the president over NSA surveillance.