Less than half the U.S. population approves of the job the Supreme Court is doing, according to a new Gallup poll.
Americans’ approval rating for the court dropped to 49% this year after hitting a 10-year high in 2020, according to Gallup on Wednesday. It’s also the first time the overall approval rating dropped below 50% since 2017.
While Republicans and Democrats both gave a 51% approval rating this year, 46% of independents approved – that’s down from their 57% approval last year.
An overall 44% disapproval rating is the highest since 47% in 2016.
Last year, 58% overall approved of the court to mark its highest rating Gallup had measured since 2009.
Overall evaluations of the Supreme Court had improved in recent years, averaging 54% between 2018-20, when Republican approval grew after confirmation of two justices nominated to the court by then-President Donald Trump.
The latest survey follows a Supreme Court term featuring a 6-3 conservative majority, which resulted last fall when Justice Amy Coney Barrett replaced Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had died in September.
The court this past term issued rulings that satisfied both conservatives and liberals.
It upheld an Arizona elections law alleged to discriminate against racial and ethnic minorities, handed down a decision that allowed a Catholic social service agency to participate in a foster care program even if it refused to consider same-sex couples, and extended free speech rights for students to social media posts.
The court rejected a third challenge to Obamacare, and left in place a decision that allowed a transgender student to use the bathroom that corresponded to his gender identity.
The court also ruled student-athletes are allowed to receive education-related payments.
“The mix of rulings may have helped keep Republicans from viewing the court as a conservative ally, or Democrats from perceiving it as too ideologically extreme,” Gallup concluded. “If that is the case, it is notable, given that the court now has six justices nominated by Republican presidents compared with three nominated by Democratic presidents.”
Gallup said partisan ratings of the court could be put to the test in the next term, when it will hear several controversial cases, including a challenge to a Mississippi law that prohibits most abortions 15 weeks after conception.
The Mississippi attorney general has asked the Supreme Court to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that prohibits states from banning abortion before 24 weeks into a pregnancy.
Progressives have expressed a desire for Justice Stephen Breyer, 82, to retire so President Joe Biden can nominate a younger liberal judge.
The Gallup poll was conducted July 6-21, and is based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,007 adults living in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The margin of sampling error is plus/minus 4 percentage points.
Story cited here.