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Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh

Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol Building on February 5, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

As Right-Wing Majority Shows Its Face, Confidence in Supreme Court Hits All-Time Low

"It's almost like if you steal a Supreme Court seat to make decisions that are wildly unpopular based on extraordinarily flimsy justifications," said one critic, "you will lose the deference and respect that has historically been granted to you."

Julia Conley

A new poll out Thursday reveals that the confidence the American people have in the U.S. Supreme Court is at an all-time low—dropping 11 points since the right-wing majority took hold last year and amid major rulings, including the expected overturning of Roe vs. Wade, unpopular with the voting public.

Just 25% of Americans have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the Supreme Court, down from 36% one year ago.

"Many institutions have suffered a decline in confidence this year, but the 11-point drop in confidence in the Supreme Court is roughly double what it is for most institutions that experienced a decline."

The poll was taken from June 1-20, about a month after a draft opinion was leaked showing that the right-wing majority voted earlier this year to overturn Roe, a ruling that would immediately end access to legal abortion care for millions of Americans in 26 states and likely reduce access in states that protect abortion rights.

Fifty-eight percent of Americans oppose overturning the landmark reproductive rights ruling, according to a Gallup survey taken a year ago.

The court's approval rating is five points lower than its previous low, which was recorded in 2014.

Just 13% of Democratic voters reported having confidence in the high court—the lowest rating the polling company has ever recorded—while 39% of Republicans said they currently approve of the court. Twenty-five percent of independents said they had confidence.

Gallup will soon release the results of polls regarding other U.S. institutions such as Congress, it said, but the group noted that the Supreme Court's confidence rating has fallen more sharply than other entities.

"Many institutions have suffered a decline in confidence this year, but the 11-point drop in confidence in the Supreme Court is roughly double what it is for most institutions that experienced a decline," said the group.

The low rating came as no surprise to progressive organizers who are mobilizing to fight for abortion rights and pushing Congress to codify the right to abortion care into federal law ahead of the expected ruling.

Recent Supreme Court decisions include New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, which was decided Thursday. Weeks after 19 children and two teachers were killed in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas—sparking renewed calls for stricter gun control—the court's right-wing majority ruled that New York state's law restricting the ability to carry a concealed weapon was unconstitutional.

The court also on Thursday weakened people's ability to sue law enforcement agents who fail to read suspects' Miranda rights during an arrest and gave legal immunity to border agents accused of using excessive force earlier this month.

On Tuesday, Justice Sonia Sotomayor vehemently disagreed with the right-wing majority's ruling that religious schools must be included in a state-run tuition program, a decision she said "leads us to a place where separation of church and state becomes a constitutional violation."

The Gallup poll represents "a new low for the high court," said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), an advocate for adding more justices to the Supreme Court following the Republican Party's refusal to confirm former President Barack Obama's nominee in 2016 and its controversial confirmations of Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett during the Trump administration.

"With each far-right decision issued by a stolen, illegitimate majority—we see why," said Markey. "It's time to expand the Court and reclaim it for the American people."


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