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WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (AP) - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito says the high court should never worry about its popularity when deciding cases.

Alito spoke Monday to a joint meeting of the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches and the Palm Beach County Bar Association. Alito told an audience of more than 1,100 people that the nine justices would undermine the court's standing if they were concerned about public opinion.

Alito says federal judges have lifetime tenure precisely to avoid being swayed by politics and opinion of a given time.

Alito generally votes with the nine-member court's conservative wing. He was nominated by President George W. Bush and has served on the high court since January 2006.

Before that he was a federal appeals judge and was U.S. attorney in New Jersey.

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