ABA Journal


U.S. Supreme Court

SCOTUS favorability rating drops below 50% for the first time in almost 30 years

Jul 26, 2013, 09:07 pm CDT


Fortunately, their jobs don't depend on winning a popularity contest.

By BMF on 2013 07 27, 2:23 am CDT

So, their popularity is basically holding its own with the Republic and Democratic partisan elements (who select and approve Justices) while the majority of the common people are throwing up a little in their mouths.

It is simply further indicia of how our political system, including the Court, no longer represents the views of a majority of the citizens.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 27, 6:55 pm CDT

@2: Since when is it the job of the Court to reflect the "views of the majority of the citizens"?

By EsqinAustin on 2013 07 28, 5:41 pm CDT

Evidently, never. Just like the rest of the government.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 28, 5:45 pm CDT

@4: So I guess SCOTUS should have polled the public before Loving, Brown, Lawrence, and other cases then?

By EsqinAustin on 2013 07 28, 6:06 pm CDT

@4: "Evidently, never."

And presuming you are familiar with the Court and its Constitutional role, you are more than aware that this is the correct answer, as it should be.

By EsqinAustin on 2013 07 28, 6:08 pm CDT

If the Court were going to restrict itself to a textualist role, what you say would make sense. However, once the justices start roaming about like Zorro, randomly making changes (and even completely reversing some positions in a bare dozen years), why shouldn't they go with the views of te governed? Isn't that a more legitimate base of authority than simply imposing their own personal opinions?

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 28, 6:13 pm CDT

@7: The issue is you are of the personal opinion that the Court is diverting from what you, personally, view as its "textualist role". Many would argue that the decisions I listed above prove that, including Loving, including Brown (after all, the Court reversed itself in some of those instances as well).

The Court's job is the interpret and apply the Constitution. Whether you agree with their end results is one thing. However, whether the public, you, or I approve of their decisions is quite irrelevant to their role.

By EsqinAustin on 2013 07 28, 6:15 pm CDT

No, I don't think that is the issue at all. They're being comepletely open about strayin from a textualist role. Only one justice even still supports the concept.

The issue is, since they're making it up as they go along, and have for a very long time, for what reason should they ignore the people? An underlying issue is, does "the Constitution" ( whatever that is if it is not the written document) exclude the views of the people?

Practically, whether the public approves of their decisions is ultimately not "irrelevant," in that the Court has no ability to enforce its decisions. Hence, in a day when the Court has lost all moral authority by decision after decision the people do not support, the dominant party of the day will then be able to simply run over the Court, diminishing or practically eliminating its "role." Even in our day, there is a range of matter (e.g., "etraordinary rendition") which the Court refuses to touch out of fear of such an outcome.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 28, 7:52 pm CDT

@9: I am sorry, but after your first three sentences, nothing you assert is in contradiction with what I wrote above. I get that your opinion is that the Court is going beyond the bounds of what you consider to be interpreting the application of the Constitution. However, and not to belabor the point, but they are still doing the job assigned to them by the Constitution itself, whether you agree with the outcomes or not.

By EsqinAustin on 2013 07 28, 7:56 pm CDT

We don't know if they are or not, because "the Constitution itself" does not detail the function. We do know that there have been past examples (e.g., "a switch in tme saves nine") where popular opinion of the Court's conduct was clearly not "irrelevant." You are simply ignorant of history in making such an assertion.

The Court today does not follow any recognizable model. It does not follow the original document, its own precedent, or majority opinion. Its opinions are simply unpredictable flights of fancy, and in the Dworkinian senes (as to which, I understand you have will no concept what I am even referring to) the opinions and mode of decision lack "integrity." None of these comments have anything to do whether I like or dislike the result in any given opinion or opinions. They pertain to a subject area sometimes termed "jurisprudence," as to which, I can see you are unschooled.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 28, 8:21 pm CDT

@11: "You are simply ignorant of history in making such an assertion."

Rather than getting into a petty game of me accusing you of the same thing, I will leave it at the comments I already made.

By EsqinAustin on 2013 07 28, 9:21 pm CDT

Actually, by making that ignorant comment, you obviously didn't leave it at the comments you already made. Texas English is a passtime unto itself.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 29, 2:35 am CDT


By Walt on 2013 07 29, 1:08 pm CDT

Auto-correct changed the quote in question; it is: "passtime"?

By Walt on 2013 07 29, 1:09 pm CDT

By asserting that the Court is "straying from its textualist role" you are presupposing that the Court's role is "textualist" as that term is commonly understood, and that there is some sort of judicial philosophy that can logically be described as textualist. Neither of the two make much sense, and the absurdity of the latter is very much highlighted by the blatant judicial activism of so many (all?) judges and justices who wrap themselves in the shroud of "textualism".

By NoleLaw on 2013 07 29, 1:23 pm CDT

Mr Dooley stated "the Supreme Court follows the election returns" at the turn of the last century, and it was not a novel, earth-shattering observation then. Courts need to be particularily sensitive to public opinion, since a court cannot enforce its own writ, but must rely on the kindness of other parts of government. That does not mean being a wind sock, but it does mean understanding the idea of the "reasonable man".

By IanC on 2013 07 29, 3:30 pm CDT

SCOTUS is a political wing of the R and D party. Anyone who thinks they still gets justice is mistaken. It is just part of the game you play.

By tim17 on 2013 07 29, 4:03 pm CDT

#1 -- Apparently the same is true for Congress, in which the membership as a whole has approvals in the single digits and any given congress person is far more likely to get re-elected every 2 years than not.

By AndytheLawyer on 2013 07 29, 7:26 pm CDT

There is a theory that all judging is based on "hunches".

I can't rememebr who originally wrote the hunch theory, but googling it, it still generates papers.

I read about it in law school adn it stuck with me.

I would say most judges rule by way of the hunch. thats my hunch, anyway.

i once shared the hunch theory witha judge and he found the hunch theory very amusing.

By defensive lawyer on 2013 07 29, 9:53 pm CDT

The drafters of the Constitution were trying to juggle a lot of problems, and unfortunately spent very little time on Article III, which is silent as to any rule(s) of decision.

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 29, 11:18 pm CDT

Add a Comment

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.