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Supreme Court Poll: Americans' Confidence in Justices at All-Time Low

Image: Supreme Court Poll: Americans' Confidence in Justices at All-Time Low
The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. From left: Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Antonin Scalia, Stephen Breyer, Chief Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

By    |   Tuesday, 01 Jul 2014 10:32 AM

The confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court has reached an all-time low, with only 30 percent of Americans reporting a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of faith in the high court, according to new Gallup poll released Monday.

In fact, citizens' confidence in all three branches of government is hovering at a record low, according to the survey, which was conducted June 5-8. That was well before Monday's landmark Hobby Lobby decision was handed down with the justices ruling 5-4 that the government cannot force closely held corporations to pay for contraception for employees under the Affordable Care Act.

While confidence in the Supreme Court has fallen to just 30 percent, that figure remains the highest of the three branches of government — 1 percent higher than Americans' confidence in the presidency and much higher than their faith in the U.S. House and Senate, which was estimated at only 7 percent.

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"From 1973 to 2006, the Supreme Court maintained confidence ratings in the 40s and 50s in all but one poll," Gallup said in its statement on the latest numbers. "That changed in 2007, a year after George W. Bush's second confirmed nominee to the court — the Supreme Court's confidence rating dropped sharply to 34 percent along with similar declines in confidence in the other two branches of government. It has not reached 40 percent since."

Gallup wrote that the Supreme Court's rating has mirrored the presidency's rating in later years, which is not a big surprise because the two have been within six to seven points of each other since 1991, reported Gallup.

"While the Supreme Court, with unelected justices serving indefinite terms, is immune to the same public pressures that elected members of Congress and the president must contend with, it is not immune to the drop in confidence in U.S. government institutions that threatens and complicates the U.S. system of government," wrote Gallup. "At this point, Americans place much greater faith in the military and the police than in any of the three branches of government."

According to polls from CBS News, The New York Times, and the Kaiser Family Foundation, American opinion ranged greatly on the elements of the Hobby Lobby case. While 66 percent of respondents in the CBS/New York Times study favored the government's requirement that health care insurance companies should cover the full cost of birth control, 51 percent said employers should be able opt out for religious or moral objections, the Washington Post reported.

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The confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court has reached an all-time low, with only 30 percent of Americans reporting a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of faith in the high court, according to new Gallup poll released Monday.
supreme court, poll, americans, confidence
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2014-32-01
Tuesday, 01 Jul 2014 10:32 AM
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