NOW, it’s all up to the nine justices! The U.S. Supreme Court this week heard arguments about two related “culture war” issues: same-sex marriage bans and the legal definition of marriage. The high court’s rulings expected in early summer will shape the rights, fortunes, and misfortunes of many.
So far this week, we’ve discussed how public opinion is shifting in favor of legalizing gay marriage, the “nightingale” or bandwagon effect, whether the court will throw up its hands and leave decisions to the states, and the extent to which the justices might be subconsciously swayed by their religious affiliations.
Today, we consider an overarching question: Do we have still have confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court?
Favorability ratings of the high court are close to the all-time low, according to a Pew poll earlier this month. Three of ten Americans (31%) say their overall opinion of the institution is very or mostly unfavorable. Only 52% have a favorable overall opinion. Back in July 1994, 80% of Americans had a favorable opinion of the high court. Starting in 2010, favorability ratings fell below 60% and have remained there since.
After the Affordable Care Act decision, ratings shifted dramatically by political party affiliation. Two-thirds of Democrats had a favorable rating, compared to just over a third of Republicans. Now, however, the two parties are closer. Fifty-six percent of Democrats have a favorable opinion of the Supreme Court, while 47% of Republicans feel the same.
What’s your opinion about the current U.S. Supreme Court?
Are you confident the court will make the right decision?