U.S | Supreme Court approval matches record low ahead of new term English Headline

Public trust in America’s courts has fallen to an all-time low, and just 40% of Americans say they approve of the job the Supreme Court is doing, according to a poll released Thursday.

Only 47% say they have a “great deal” or a “fair amount” of trust in the judiciary — a 7 percentage-point slide from last year and 33 percentage points below the all-time high of 80% in 1999, a Gallup poll found. 

Along with the erosion in trust, 58% of Americans say they disapprove of the way the Supreme Court is handling its job, while just 40% say they approve.

The court’s approval rating tumbled from 58% in July 2020, a period during which the court refused to block a controversial Texas law banning almost all abortions and overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision from 1973 that held women have a constitutional right to the procedure. 

The court’s approval rating has dipped into the 40s before, hitting 42% in 2005 and 2016, 43% in 2013, and 40% in September of last year.

Justice Alito
The Supreme Court has seen its polling numbers deteriorate following the controversial decision authored by Justice Samuel Alito, seen here in a 2010 photograph.
The Washington Post via Getty Im
The United States Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.
The United States Supreme Court building in Washington, DC.
Getty Images/Bloomberg Creative

A plurality of Americans also believe the Supreme Court has become too conservative (42%), with just 18% saying it is too liberal and 38% saying its orientation was about right.

While the “too liberal” and “just right” views are at or near their lowest points in the Gallup poll, the “too conservative” view has jumped 10 percentage points since 2020. 

Only 25% of Democrats have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in the federal court system, down from 50% a year ago. 

Republicans’ trust in the judiciary has seen an uptick over the past year, rising to 67% from 61% in 2021. 

Among independents, 46% say they have at least some trust in the third branch of government, a five-point decline from last year. 

The survey showed that 58% of Republicans think the court is “about right,” 11% say it’s “too conservative” and 29% think the high bench is “too liberal.”

Among Democrats, 71% say the court is “too conservative,” 18% say “about right” and 9% say “too liberal.”

The poll surveyed 812 adults between Sept. 1 and 16 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The Supreme Court begins its new term Oct. 3.

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