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Approval of Supreme Court Among Democrats Has Hit Rock Bottom at 13 Percent

Approval of the majority conservative Supreme Court is down 23 points among Democrats since September.

Fencing guards the U.S. Supreme Court on Capitol Hill on June 30, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

The Supreme Court’s approval rating has hit a record low among Democrats following a slew of rulings handed down by the far right Court in recent months, new polling finds.

A Gallup poll released on Tuesday, conducted just after the Supreme Court’s most recent session ended, finds that a mere 13 percent of Democrats approve of the Supreme Court’s job performance. This figure is down 23 points from September, shortly after the Court declined to overturn Texas’s restrictive abortion ban, and down 38 points from 51 percent approval from Democrats in July 2021, before the most recent session began.

The findings are a strong rebuke from Democrats of the Supreme Court’s recent extremist crusade, which resulted in the revocation of nationwide abortion protections, the weakening of federal regulatory power over the climate crisis, new threats to Native sovereignty, and much more. It also comes as the Court’s justices may be preparing to overturn other fundamental rights, including the rights to gay sex, same sex marriage and contraception access.

Overall, approval of the Supreme Court remains low. Approval sits at 43 percent — with approval up among Republicans since September — which is statistically the same as the 40 percent overall approval that Gallup found last year, the lowest approval recorded since the polling agency began collecting such data in 2000. Younger respondents and women are the most likely to disapprove of the Court’s job performance, Gallup found.

These job approval ratings come as the institution of the Court is in the midst of a public confidence crisis. The June poll, taken just before far right justices overturned Roe v. Wade but after the draft decision on the overturn leaked, found that confidence in the Supreme Court had sunk to a record low. Only 25 percent of respondents said that they had either “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the High Court, down from 36 percent in June 2021 and breaking the previous low from 2014 by five points.

The nosedive in public approval of the Court likely has direct ties to the overturn of Roe v. Wade, which is unpopular among the public. Pew found last month that 57 percent of Americans disapprove of the decision, while 62 percent said that abortion should be legal in most or all cases.

Lawmakers have said that the fact that justices lied to lawmakers about their willingness to overturn Roe during their Senate confirmation hearings also corrodes the legitimacy of the Supreme Court. In June, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) said that allowing these justices to break their promises under oath that they would uphold Roe without consequence is dangerous for the legitimacy of the Court.

Allowing Supreme Court nominees to lie under oath is “particularly dangerous” because “it sends a blaring signal to all future nominees that they can now lie to duly elected members of the United States Senate in order to secure Supreme Court confirmations,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Democrats have introduced a number of bills with proposals aimed at reforming the Supreme Court, including popular ideas like placing term limits on Supreme Court justices and adding four justices to the bench. Government watchdogs say that common sense reforms to the Court, like term limits, are crucial to protecting democracy and fending off minority rule.

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