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Perceptions of Supreme Court politics in a divisive era

A photo shows the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC.
A photo shows the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC.

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The Supreme Court is concluding an historic term this week – capping it with a landmark ruling yesterday protecting abortion rights.

While the high court seldom weighs such divisive and politically charged issues, many Americans view each of the justices as inherently political - either liberal or conservative.

In 2012, a New York Times/CBS News poll had 76 percent saying the justices’ decisions are sometimes influenced by their political or personal views.

When did this third branch of government begin to be seen as akin to Congress or the Oval Office?


Garrett Epps, Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Baltimore; he covers the Supreme Court for “The Atlantic”