March 15th, 2010
12:35 PM ET

Supreme Court riven by partisan politics

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Jeffrey Toobin
CNN Senior Legal Analyst

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is fond of pointing out the original reason that judges came to wear black robes. It's to make them look alike, to minimize the differences between the individuals who occupy the role and to suggest that the law will be applied even-handedly, no matter who happens to be dressed in black.

Well, that may be the theory, but the events of the last few weeks show that the Supreme Court is riven by the same partisan divisions as the rest of Washington - and it's likely to get even more heated sooner rather than later.

The latest round started January 21, when a bitterly divided court issued its decision in the Citizens United case. The 5-4 ruling decreed that corporations enjoy the same rights as individuals to free speech under the First Amendment, and it gave corporations (and labor unions) the right to spend unlimited funds on political advertising right up until Election Day.

The political effect of, if not motivation for, the decision was clear: Citizens United looks to be a big win for Republicans, who are the likely beneficiaries of the newly lubricated corporate largesse.

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Filed under: Jeffrey Toobin • Raw Politics • Supreme Court
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Mari

    Anyone surprised?

    March 15, 2010 at 6:50 pm |