WASHINGTON — Americans’ trust in the Supreme Court and its job approval ratings have fallen dramatically over the past two years, reaching historic lows, according to a Gallup poll.
Only 47% of Americans said they have a ‘great’ or ‘good amount’ of trust in the High Court, down 20 percentage points from 2020 and down 7 percentage points from the year former. This year marks the lowest level of trust among Americans since 1972.
Approval of the Supreme Court’s work also took a hit, as only 40% of respondents said they approved of the court’s work, down 18 percentage points from 2020, tied for the lowest approval numbers found by Gallup.
While the court’s overall approval has fallen, approval is split across partisan lines, with the majority of Republicans still viewing the High Court in a positive light. Sixty-seven percent of Republicans trust the Supreme Court — an increase of 6 percentage points from 2021 — compared to just 25% of Democrats, a drop of 26 percentage points from 2021.
Sixty percent of Republicans also approve of the court’s handling of its work, compared to 36% of independents and 23% of Democrats – another all-time low – according to the previous Gallup poll.
The poll surveyed 812 American adults from September 1 to 16 and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.
The decline in confidences comes after the Supreme Court’s 6-3 conservative majority has consistently ruled in a manner that closely aligns with conservative ideology in controversial cases, involving issues of abortion, religion and weapons fired in his last term.
The court’s legitimacy was called into question on the left earlier this year after it overturned the landmark 1973 case Roe v. Wade, granting states the ability to ban abortion and further exacerbating partisan divisions.
Associate Justice Elena Kagan this summer issued warnings about declining American confidence in the High Court if it is treated as another political entity. She declined to mention a specific decision.
“A court does best when it sticks to legal issues, when it does not allow personal political opinions, personal political opinions to affect or infect, its judgment,” Kagan said Sept. a question-and-answer session at Salve Regina University in Rhode Island.
Associate Justice Elena Kagan this summer issued warnings about declining American confidence in the High Court if it is treated as another political entity. in a recent series of public appearances as the court prepares for another term, choosing to exclude She declined to mention a specific ruling.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Sam Alito have both countered in recent weeks that Americans are free to criticize the court, but questioned whether the charges of illegitimacy were based on the fact that many Americans don’t didn’t like the abortion decision. The Supreme Court, justices have often pointed out, is the only branch of the federal government that was designed not to be sensitive to public opinion.
Americans’ views on the court’s ideology are evenly split across partisan lines, as 71% of Democrats view the Supreme Court as “too conservative” while nearly a third of Republicans said the court is “too liberal”.
More than half of Republicans said the court’s ideology was “about right,” compared with 35% of independents and 18% of Democrats.