Post by Tennesseer on Mar 15, 2022 15:35:18 GMT -5
Most Americans Don’t Think Supreme Court Acts In A ‘Serious And Constitutional Manner’ And Want Reforms, Poll Finds
Less than 40% of Americans believe the U.S. Supreme Court is nonpartisan based on its recent decisions and a majority want the court to impose reforms, according to a new C-SPAN/Pierrepont poll, reflecting how Americans view the court as politicized as it takes on partisan issues like abortion and as justices face potential ethical concerns.
Key Facts Only 37% think the court’s recent decisions demonstrate that it acts in a “serious and constitutionally sound manner,” according to the poll, conducted March 3-6 among 1,011 U.S. likely voters.
A 47% plurality think the court is “split into parties, similar to Democrats and Republicans in Congress,” while 17% were unsure.
A 72% majority want the Supreme Court to impose a code of ethics—while there’s one in place for federal judges in lower courts, Supreme Court justices aren’t bound by it.
Only 15% think justices “receive enough public scrutiny that no official Code of Ethics is needed.”
A 69% majority would prefer justices have 18-year term limits rather than lifetime appointments to the court.
Respondents also want more transparency from the Supreme Court: 65% want the court to air television coverage of its oral arguments, and 70% say doing so would “build trust” in the court and its decisions.
Big Number 84%. That’s the share of respondents who said the Supreme Court’s decisions “have an impact on my everyday lives as a citizen.”
Contra A belief the court is partisan isn’t new, as C-SPAN’s polling finds more respondents than not have said the Supreme Court is split up into parties and backed term limits since it started polling the questions in 2011 and 2009, respectively. A higher share of respondents (67%, though that polling did not include the “don’t know” option) said the court was partisan the last time the question was asked in August 2018, amid Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation process to the court.
Tangent As the Senate prepares to start confirmation hearings next week for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who would be the first Black woman on the Supreme Court if confirmed, a 69% majority of respondents said diversity (both in terms of gender and race/ethnicity) are important to them on the Supreme Court.
Key Background The Supreme Court has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months for its perceived politicization, and the C-SPAN survey is one of several recent polls that show low public trust in the court. The 6-3 conservative-leaning court has taken up a slew of cases related to divisive partisan topics in recent months, with major cases concerning abortion, firearms, climate change, voting rights and other issues, and has come out with controversial rulings like letting Texas’ near-total ban on abortion stand. Calls for the court to impose major reforms like term limits or adding justices to the court have gained steam among progressives to combat its conservative tilt, though such proposals remain a longshot. Conservative-leaning Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch have also been scrutinized recently for potential ethical issues. Thomas has drawn criticism for his wife’s right-wing political activism—including working for groups that have filed briefs with the court—and Gorsuch spoke at an event alongside GOP politicians like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence.
Chief Critics Supreme Court justices have hit back against the notion the court is politicized over the past few months as they’ve come under scrutiny. Justice Amy Coney Barrett decried the notion the court is made up of “a bunch of partisan hacks” in September, for instance, and Justice Stephen Breyer said justices are not just “junior-league politicians.” In an appearance Friday in Utah, Thomas also criticized proposals to reform the court’s makeup by adding justices. “You can cavalierly talk about doing this or doing that. At some point the institution is going to be compromised,” Thomas said, as reported by the Associated Press.