When the court deals with social policy decisions, the law it shapes is inescapably political-which is why decisions split along ideological lines are so easily dismissed as unjust.

I have a few questions about this sentence:

1) Why does it read split along and not splitted along? Could it have been either?

2) What does split along ideological lines mean?

3) What does dismiss mean in this context, and how should I interpret the whole sentence?

My present comprehension of dismiss is that it means reject or turn down.

But the problem is the word decisions; how can one decision (by who? by justice/by court?) be rejected/dismissed?

Or is it that the decision is inacceptable to the defendant or plaintiff so they reject/dismiss it and appeal against (dismiss?) the decision?


The answer to your first question is simple; split is the past form of split. There is no such word as splitted.

One definition of split is:

3) To separate (people or groups, for example); disunite.

So to be split along ideological lines means that a group of people is divided by their personal ideas and beliefs, and separated into two (or more) sides by this.

So what the sentence is saying is: "Social policy is intrinsically tied to people's ideological beliefs (which form their political views). So when the court rules on social policy, the law it creates is by definition political; since the issue it deals with is political, so must the decision be. Because of this, decisions on issues that are clearly split between party lines are quickly called out as unjust; the side which is not represented by the law believes the law to be unfair because it doesn't represent their political views, but someone else's."

I hope that makes sense; it's a bit on the LitCrit side of things and so might have a slightly different interpretation if someone else explained it, but I didn't figure there was much point answering your first two questions and then not explaining the sentence as a whole!


What kind of decisions are they? - decisions [which are] split. (Split, not splitted, is the past participle of split. Also the past-tense form.)

In what way are those decisions split? - they are split along ideological lines. The parties on each side are guided not by sound legal philosophies but by irrelevant partisan political ideologies.

What is done with those decisions? - They are dismissed (by those who do not agree with them), treated as not worthy of respect.

On what grounds are those decisions dismissed? - They are dismissed as unjust, as grounded not righteously in sound law but basely in mere politics.

To paraphrase:

It is easy for someone who disagrees with a decision to say that it is unjust and not worthy of respect when it appears that the judges have based their votes on their political affiliations instead of on convincing legal principles.

I imagine that this is a discussion of Supreme Court decisions, so there is probably no appeal from the decision, except to the 'court' of Public Opinion.

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