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There are two Washingtons.
There’s the one that populates elementary school textbooks, in which the three branches of government assiduously and sincerely push against one another for power, eyes fixed on the best possible outcome for the American republic.
Then there’s the one that shows up in the newspapers, the one in which the attention of elected officials is distracted by fundraising goals and 24-hour news cycles and ambition — and those are the least nefarious options. “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” is a heartwarming film, but its message is that overcoming corruption is the exception in our nation’s capital.
For years, the Supreme Court was fairly effective at portraying itself as residing in that first Washington, the idealistic one. Its members, after all, were seated for life, indifferent to the vagaries of public opinion and immune to the need to raise campaign contributions. It heard arguments from lawyers in court, evaluated those…
This article was written by Philip Bump and originally published on www.washingtonpost.com