So the day dawns when the Supreme Court hands down its judgment on the appeal by the Government against an earlier ruling which held that Theresa May was not entitled to invoke the Royal Prerogative in triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, firing the starting gun on Britain’s departure from the EU. That earlier judgment meant that Parliament would have to be consulted before any move to trigger was made.
The press, especially the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his obedient hackery at the Daily Mail, have been softening up the Supreme Court justices, principally through smears and character assassination, calling those who handed down the earlier judgment “Enemies Of The People” and talking - wrongly and maliciously - of “Judicial activism”. The Mail is again invoking the “Will of the people” in support of its stance today.
All eleven justices have participated in the decision handed down today. This has enabled some commentators to engage in spinning away the legitimacy of a split decision - claiming that if, for instance, the appeal were lost by a seven to four majority, those happy Brexiteers could claim a moral victory. But this only shows the desperation of the Europhobic press - and that they have no idea what the result will be.
And so the justices took their seats around five minutes late, at 0935 hours. There was a preamble covering the history, and it was stressed that the issue was not about whether the UK could leave the EU, or the timetable for doing so.
Then the decision was handed down in short order: by a majority of 8 to 3, the Government’s appeal was lost.
The Government cannot trigger Article 50 without Parliamentary approval. The Government’s argument was rejected.
The referendum was merely advisory and so an Act of Parliament would be needed to proceed further in leaving the EU.
Also, lest we lose sight of this point, the Supreme Court has judged that the devolved Governments and Assemblies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not have to be consulted over the Article 50 process, and cannot therefore veto it.
That makes the judgment very much a two-edged sword for campaigners. The Scots in particular will be less than happy, especially given the emphatic margin for Remain north of the border.
All of this means that, as proven so many times since the 17th Century, Parliament is supreme. So the will of the people, through their elected representatives, will prevail.
The Europhobic press can be expected to react with its usual fury, but the Supreme Court has done its job, and interpreted the law as it sees fit. That is all.