Britain’s all-consuming debate over Brexit has dragged another of its respected institutions into uncharted territory, as the Supreme Court struck down Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament, an extraordinary intervention by the judiciary into a political dispute.
The unanimous decision, handed down on Tuesday, is an unalloyed defeat for Mr. Johnson and will propel Britain into a fresh round of political turmoil. But it is even more significant for what it says about the role of the country’s highest court, which has historically steered clear of politics.
By ruling that Mr. Johnson acted unlawfully — and doing so in such stark language — the court asserted its right to curb a government that obstructed Parliament’s ability to “carry out its constitutional functions as a legislature and as the body responsible for the supervision of the executive.”
But critics warned that in taking upon itself the right to adjudicate disputes between the government and Parliament, the court would soon find itself thrust into the same charged, highly partisan waters that have politicized decisions of the United States Supreme Court in recent decades.