Justice Anthony Kennedy says he is concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court is increasingly the venue for deciding politically charged issues such as gay marriage, health care and immigration.
The 76-year-old associate justice said Wednesday that major policies in a democracy should not depend "on what nine unelected people from a narrow legal background have to say."
Rather, he said, it is important for political leaders to show the world that democracy works through compromise.
Kennedy, a former Sacramento law professor, was in California's state capital to attend the dedication of a federal courthouse library bearing his name. He often has been the swing vote on the high court's split decisions.