Just when you think the Supreme Court’s approvals can’t get any worse, they do

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 07: United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito poses for an official portrait at the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court building on October 7, 2022 in Washington, DC. The Supreme Court has begun a new term after Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was officially added to the bench in September. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)


It’s yet another new low for a court that has seen its reputation take an abrupt nosedive ever since it overturned a 50-year precedent on abortion rights this summer.

In June, Gallup found public confidence in the high court had sunk to just 25%, a historic all-time low since Gallup began tracking the measure in 1973. Confidence in the court stood at 45% in that May ’73 survey taken just months after the high court had established a constitutional right to abortion in its January ruling on Roe v. Wade.

But here’s the kicker—Gallup’s most recent confidence check was taken after the leaked opinion revealed the court intended to overturn Roe but before the ruling actually dropped on June 24.

Gallup’s most recent survey released in September put the court’s job approvals at 40%—tied for a record low in the poll. But perhaps most notably, the survey found a record-high 42% of respondents describing the Supreme Court as “too conservative.” Gallup writes:

Since 1993, Gallup has asked Americans to say whether they believe the Supreme Court is too liberal, too conservative, or about right. Until now, the plurality has always described the court as “about right.” In the current survey, 42% say the court is too conservative — a new high for that response — while 38% say it is about right, and 18% say it is too liberal.

Another poll released in July by AP-NORC found dismay with the Supreme Court spiking by multiple measures:

Most Americans don’t trust the Supreme Court; most Americans now favor term limits; most Americans now support requiring justices to retire by a specific age; and most Americans reported that the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade made them “angry” or “sad.”

In the AP-NORC poll, fully 67% of Americans supported setting term limits for justices, including 82% of Democrats and 57% of Republicans. Another 64% favor requiring Supreme Court justices to retire by a specific age, including 75% of Democrats and 56% of Republicans. 

The Supreme Court was never intended to be a continually disruptive force whose opinions are routinely out of step with roughly two-thirds of the populace. That’s an unsustainable posture for an institution that depends on democratic buy-in from a society structured around the rule of law.

But one thing the 6-3 extremist court has succeeded at brilliantly is uniting record numbers of Americans against it.

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