Justice Kagan: High court must avoid partisan perceptions

Associate Justice Elena Kagan says it behooves the U.S. Supreme Court to realize that there's a danger of the public seeing it as just a political institution _ and to ensure that the court isn't seen that way.

Associate Justice Elena Kagan says it behooves the U.S. Supreme Court to realize there's a danger of the public seeing it as just a political institution — and to ensure that the court isn't seen that way.

Speaking at the University of Minnesota on Monday, Kagan said that view is an oversimplification of what court does. She says the justices decide most of their cases unanimously or by lopsided margins.

Kagan didn't mention a Marquette University Law School poll released earlier Monday in which 64% of respondents said they believe the law, rather than politics, mostly motivates the high court's decisions.

Kagan, who's a member of the court's liberal wing, says she believes none of the justices decide cases for partisan political reasons, but they do have different legal philosophies.