Can't we all just get along like Supreme Court justices?

By Kimberly Atkins

The Daily Record Newswire

Here in Washington, the partisan divide has never been so palpable. Republicans and Democrats spar openly in the press and on the floors of the House and Senate. The president and the House speaker had a tough time even agreeing on a date for this week's presidential address on jobs, let alone the substance of the speech.

But there is one place in Washington where disagreements are handled civilly: One First Street, NE - the U.S. Supreme Court building.

''We have nine justices who don't always agree, but I've never heard a voice raised in anger in 17 years in that conference room," said Justice Stephen Breyer at the recent ABA conference in Toronto, according to ABC News.

Other justices echoed his sentiment on how nice it is to be a part of the most genteel branch of the federal government. Even when the justices disagree sharply on cases in their written opinions, they leave the tough talk on the paper and ink.

Justice Elena Kagan described the Court as ''incredibly collegial and warm institution'' with good friendships that transcend ''whatever people think of as ideological divides.''

One difference between the justices and their executive and legislative counterparts may explain their civil relationship: they are lifelong appointees. Kagan said Chief Justice John G. Roberts pointed this out when he called to congratulate her on her confirmation.

''You know we are going to be serving together for 25 years'' he told her.

Published: Thu, Sep 8, 2011

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