Expand the Supreme Court

Activists demonstrate in favor of an expanded U.S. Supreme Court on June 22, 2022 in Washington, D.C.

(Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Demand Justice)

Majority Backs Expanded SCOTUS Amid 'Extreme Decisions and Flagrant Ethical Abuses': Poll

"Partisan rulings have weakened our democracy and set our rights back by decades," said one expansion advocate.

As the Supreme Court's new term begins amid multiple ethics scandals and widespread public alarm over what many Americans consider extreme decisions by the tribunal's right-wing supermajority, a Marquette University Law School survey published this week revealed that a majority of U.S. adults support expanding the number of justices on the high court.

The poll found that 54% of Americans support increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court, while only 46% oppose it. That's the highest level of support—and the lowest level of opposition—Marquette has recorded since it started asking about the issue in 2019.

The poll also noted that "recent news concerning the justices' financial disclosures and related matters have raised attention to the ethical standards of the court," although only 29% of respondents said they perceived the high court's honesty and ethical standards to be "low" or "very low," while 30% said they were "high" or "very high."

The survey's publication came as Justice Clarence Thomas—who, along with Justice Samuel Alito, took gifts from wealthy Republican donors— refused to recuse himself from a case that could benefit one of his billionaire benefactors, even as he took the rare move of stepping aside as the court rejected an appeal from an architect of the plot to subvert the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

"Partisan rulings have weakened our democracy and set our rights back by decades. In the face of these extreme decisions and flagrant ethical abuses, Americans' faith in the court has plunged to record lows," Just Majority—a coalition of over 40 advocacy groups supporting expansion that includes Demand Justice, Planned Parenthood, Stand Up America, and Color Of Change—told Common Dreams.

The Marquette poll follows a Morning Consult/Politico survey of registered voters released late last month in which 44% of respondents said they either "strongly" or "somewhat" support Supreme Court expansion, compared with 35% who "strongly" or "somewhat" oppose the proposal.

A Gallup poll published on September 29 also found that 58% of Americans disapprove of the Supreme Court's performance, compared with just 41% who approve.

Last year, progressive advocacy groups launched the "Four More" campaign, which seeks to expand the Supreme Court from nine to 13 justices. Earlier this year, Democratic U.S. lawmakers reintroduced the Judiciary Act, which would add four justices to the high court.

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