Speed Reads

Justice is served?

Study: Supreme Court justices support free speech more often when they agree with the speaker

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The Supreme Court is supposed to deliver impartial rulings grounded solely in law, not personal belief. But a new study in The New York Times suggests that may not always be the case, at least when it comes to issues involving free speech.

In examining 4,519 votes between 1953 and 2011, the study found that justices had a tendency to support free speech claims when cases aligned with their politics. That is, they were more likely to support free speech when they agreed with said speech.

For instance, conservative Justice Antonin Scalia sided with conservative speech claims or speakers 65.2 percent of the time, though he supported just 20.7 percent of liberal free speech arguments. On the flip side, retired Justice John Paul Stevens backed liberal speech claims 62.8 percent of the time, but supported only 46.9 percent of conservative ones.

Read the whole Times story here, or check out the raw study here.