Why is this happening? Because, it seems, we no longer trust the facts. The president tells us we cannot trust the mainstream media, while that same media says his supporters peddle fake news. For the first time there are facts and (in Kellyanne Conway’s notorious phrase) ‘alternative facts’. As facts become fluid they become contestable; the truth becomes (once again) something you assert, not something you prove. It used to be a peculiar characteristic of totalitarian regimes that they made the facts fit their purposes; now it seems this can happen in a functioning democracy. As the court pointed out in its judgement on February 9th, the government had repeatedly asserted that national security was at stake and that this was why its order should not be stayed, though it had produced no evidence to support this assertion. The courts appear to be trying to preserve standards of reliability and evidence that are being undermined in the digital age. Will they succeed? Only time will tell.