Poll offers insight into Americans' perceptions of SCOTUS

June 14, 2012
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A recent poll shows that 44 percent of Americans approve of the way the Supreme Court of the United States is handling its job. What’s also telling is how many people responded that they don’t know.

The majority of people polled between May 31 and June 3 for a New York Times/CBS News poll  said the country is on the wrong track and disapprove of the job Congress is doing. In each of those areas, 6 percent and 9 percent respectively either didn’t answer the question or didn’t know the answer.

When it came to approving or disapproving of the job the Supreme Court justices are doing, 20 percent didn’t know the answer or said it’s not applicable. A fifth of the people answering didn’t have the ability to answer that question. I interpret that as they have no idea what is going on with our Supreme Court, despite the news that it generates when high-profile cases like the health care law and Arizona immigration challenges are heard.

Perhaps allowing cameras into the courtroom would change that, but that’s a topic for another day.

According to the NYT, public approval of the nation’s highest court has gone down through the years – in the 1980s it was as high as 66 percent; in 2000, approval was around 50 percent. I wonder if they had decided Bush v. Gore yet when the poll was conducted.

Even though 20 percent couldn’t say they approve or disapprove of the Supreme Court’s job, only eight percent didn’t know or couldn’t answer the question as to whether the current justices decide their cases based on legal analysis alone or if they sometimes consider their personal views. Three-fourths of respondents believe the justices sometimes are influenced by their personal and political views.

Another interesting point – 60 percent think it’s a bad thing that justices have lifetime appointments. Only 33 percent support lifetime appointments.
 

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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