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The rapid pace of constitutional change during the past decade has blunted our capacity for surprise at Supreme Court decisions. Nevertheless, Powell v. McCormack is a surprising decision. Avoidance of politically explosive controversies was not one of the most notable characteristics of the Warren Court. And yet, it is one thing for the Court to do battle with the Congress in the service of important practical ends or when the necessity of doing so is thrust upon it by the need to discharge its traditional responsibilities. It is quite another to tilt at windmills, especially at a time when the Court's supply of lances is not overly large.