Poll: Supreme Court’s Standing Falls Further After Health Care Decision

During the recent coverage on the health care decision, I had repeated occasion to disagree with co-commentators who heralded the Roberts decision as a triumph for the Court in regaining credibility and getting beyond ideological divisions. That seems curious to me since the vote was still 5-4 and was fractured into multiple opinions. The Roberts opinion in my view was also fundamentally in conflict with itself and re-wrote the federal law in a new image. It appears that the opinion did not alter the opinion of the public, either. If anything the public’s view of the Court has worsened after the decision.


A new Pew Research Center poll released on Thursday that shows the favorability ratings for the Court is unchanged at just 51 percent but the unfavorable view has risen to 37 percent — an 8-point increase from April.

Polls obviously should not influence the Court. However, my interest is not with the continuing discontent with the Court but the failure of Congress to consider basic reforms of the institution. These reforms include my earlier proposal to expand the Court. For prior columns on my proposal, click here, here and here and here.

The poll also shows that, if Roberts did intend his switch in the case to improve the standing of the Court, it did not work. I still hope that this widely held view is wrong and that Roberts ethically voted the way that he felt dictated by the law. I remain amazed at legal experts who are applauding Roberts on the assumption that he voted in the best interests of the Court as opposed to his personal views by switching sides. That does not take away from the view that Roberts was wrong in his assumptions — including those expressly rejected by the Obama Administration after claiming victory.

The public is right to hold the Court in disrepute given the conduct of individual justices and the hold of so few jurists on critical political and social issues for the nation. This is, in my view, a deeply flawed institution that needs reform. The relevance of the poll is only that there appears to be a sizable number of citizens who agree that the Court is functioning as they would wish for our system.

Source: National Journal

18 thoughts on “Poll: Supreme Court’s Standing Falls Further After Health Care Decision”

  1. Why is it, do you suppose, that the Catholick dominated Supreme Court is against everything that’s good for American Democracy and Humanity as a whole???? Is this, in fact, a mere reflection of Catholicism, in General?

  2. IMHO,they will get another bite on the apple to prove wether the ACA decision was a fluke and if the balance has changed.

    “A divided panel of judges on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act – which requires certain states to have changes to their voting laws approved by the Justice Department – on Friday, setting up a likely hearing on the topic before the U.S. Supreme Court.”

    http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entries/ruling-on-voting-rights-act-sets-up-supreme

  3. Give it time. Just because the disapproval jumped does mean this jump will remain as high. The decision is still fresh and people were still fired up on both sides.

    And besides, as much as I think the Pew Center does solid work, I do tend to think we give way too much credence to poll numbers and the organizations that conduct them in light of the fact that survey research is fraught with many challenges that are rarely given the due attention in public as they are in the academy.

  4. There is really nothing new on the courthouse lawn, library, conference room, or jurisprudence. The Court upheld a law on one ground, not two; one clause not Sinter Claus. Roberts was in his role of not being an Activist Judge, one who set aside the will of Congress. He did not write new law. The Court, because of Roberts, did not go 5 RepubliCons against 4 Democrats. Bottom line: we dont need 19 of these schmucks, it is hard enough to predict a course of action in life that will get past nine. Roberts proved that a stitch in time saved nine.

  5. Why should the SCOTUS say no to 30 million potentially new antibiotic users through ACA? Read on and find out how much good it brings. It cures immigrant TB, but…..
    Shall we take the pledge to stop eating food animals fed with non-therapeutic levels of antibiotics? Guess not.

    Dredd,

    It is serious stuff: B.Fragilis is at least proven to have a causitive effect on predisposed persons (ie genetically so?). It brings on such nice things as Chrohns disease, MS, type one diabetes, etc. where the immune system attacks its own tissues.

    The figures over time of the reduction of key bacteria levels, due premumably to our use of antibiotics, chiefly for inner otitis—ca 80 percent at age 18 have been treated once or more times. Not to mention many other factors such as CS instead of vaginal birth, super hygiene.

    Our biomeme never gets a chance to build up, nor be sustained due to “wipe outs” from antibiotics. We died without them, but now we overuse them. Next time you pass a public doorway, lick the doorknob for your health’s sake, OK?

    Indians do the equivalent to small babies.

    The USA still does not have a decent full coverage health system. Notice I said health system, not medical system.

    And here we automatically follow the old time Swedish system—-a good man takes care of himself. Take care of others? Who do you think I am, the good Samaritan?

    How screwy is that. We are asked if we believe the Sct is doing their job. When did the public last say their opinion about the justice system? ABA does it each year with pride, you say. Good! And how many came away not feeling burnt by our justice system?

  6. idealist707 1, July 13, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Dredd,
    did you read the Scientific American article in June on the microbiome in the humans, with specified effects. Pylori in appetite regulation and B. fragilis in the inflammation dampening effect on immune system?
    Lots of support for your ideas. Old stuff to you I guess.
    ================================
    Cool piece.

    It never gets old.

  7. Evidently 5-4 is unacceptable even when the 5 is not 100% along ideologic lines. I can only assume Professor Turley would be happy only with a 6-3, 7-2, etc vote absent the changes he wants.

  8. @Idealist: That “Tony” is not me. And I disagree with him, although the ACA is indeed helping people, I think it came at too high a cost and I think the SC has decided wrong, I still think the mandate is unconstitutional.

  9. I think you are misunderstanding the change in opinion. For the last 15 or so years the wingnuts have been pretty happy with the court as they worked to roll back any traces of the 20th Century to return us to the golden times of the 1800s. Sure it was not as fast as the wingnuts would have preferred but it was grinding along one 5-4 decision after another. I bet the big drop in approval came from those wingnuts who are upset at not getting every little thing they want. Progressives are not going to suddenly change their opinion because they know next session we will be abraded by more gilded age “thinking” from the little 5.

  10. In a healthy democracy there is no room for an institution that is hermetically sealed from the will of the people.

    Professor Turley’s plan to reform the Supreme Court is just what the doctor ordered. I especially like the “having 2 justices each year sit by designation on lower courts” as a means of breaking the hermetic seal.

    All of our institutions are exhibiting signs of ill-health and the people know it.

  11. Tony,
    are you TonyC?

    BettyKath,
    let’s hope there was a “not” missing.

    Dredd,
    did you read the Scientific American article in June on the microbiome in the humans, with specified effects. Pylori in appetite regulation and B. fragilis in the inflammation dampening effect on immune system?
    Lots of support for your ideas. Old stuff to you I guess.

  12. I disagree. The Affordable Care Act is history making legislation that is going to improve the lives of millions of Americans. Millions! Roberts decision to uphold the mandate has guaranteed him and his supreme court a place on the right side of history.

  13. The supreme court justices should not be picked by the president,because with that , its all political. I think anybody who would like to be a supreme justice should apply for the job on their own and then have a team of constitutional scholars to select one through their process and have, say, a 10 year term limit. I agree with Mr. Turley that the court should have 19 justices.

  14. “The relevance of the poll is only that there appears to be a sizable number of citizens who agree that the Court is functioning as they would wish for our system.”

    Is a “not” missing?

  15. “The poll also shows that, if Roberts did intend his switch in the case to improve the standing of the Court, it did not work.”

    Polls usually take longer than that, so it is probably too early to tell.

    The bottom line is going to be a count downward for the court, coming from the right wing, and a count upward for the court, coming from the center and left wing.

    In a while we can tell whether they balance each other out or not.

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