Despite the reversal of Roe v. Wade and unrelenting attacks in the media and by Democratic members of Congress, the Supreme Court still has the overwhelming support of the American people. While figures like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) have called for court packing, the public in a just-released Mason-Dixon poll show that 68% of Americans oppose her efforts and those of various law professors. There were also a couple of surprises.
Despite the endless columns and stories discussing support for court packing and radical proposals for changing the Court, the public has never supported these calls from Democratic activists. Nevertheless, the continual drumbeat continued as the public tuned out the media.
The narrative has been repeated endlessly for years: the Supreme Court is hopelessly ideological and divided. As I have previously written, this critique ignores the fact that the vast majority of the Court’s decisions are unanimous, near unanimous, or do not break down neat ideological lines.
The rationalization of a rigidly partisan Court gives license to those demanding the addition of an immediate liberal majority or the call of a Georgetown law for “more aggressive” targeting of individual justices.
While members like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) have questioned the need for a Supreme Court, the public retains its faith and fealty to the Court.
Polling shows 91% of Americans believe an independent judiciary is a crucial safeguard of our civil liberties and 72% of Americans believe that the politicization of the Supreme Court threatens judicial independence. Notably, 59% oppose attacks on the integrity of some of the justices that have become commonplace in the media and among liberal commentators.
The polling also shows, again, the disconnect between the mainstream media and the public. Despite the continual attacks on the Court, the public is not buying it.
One surprise is that 69% of Americans do not want Congress taking over the rules for judicial ethics. That may reflect the same discomfort and distrust generated by the coverage. The media and legal analysts have frittered away their credibility with largely one-sided, highly partisan coverage.
It also shows how the Democrats have misplayed this issue. President Joe Biden has been disgracefully absent without leave on issues like court packing. He refused to state his position during the 2020 election despite that fact that this was a major issue for voters. He then pandered to the far left with a commission loaded with radical law professors and experts to explore court packing and other extreme changes.
The faith of the public in the Court is reassuring that, despite years of attacks in the media and in Congress, citizens retain their objectivity and knowledge of the underlying issues. While the Congress and media are still at near record lows, the Court itself has ticked up in popularity. As members of Congress insist that the public has lost trust in the Court, they ignore that it retains the trust of 43% the public while Congress is at 18%. That is still not where it should be, but it is remarkable given the thousands of stories hitting the Court, its members, and its alleged partisan agendas.