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U.S. Supreme Court

Poll Finds Declining Approval for Supreme Court, Opposition to Lifetime Tenure

Posted Jun 8, 2012 9:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The U.S. Supreme Court is suffering from public perception problems, as a new poll shows declining public approval and opposition to lifetime tenure.

Sixty percent of those surveyed by the New York Times and CBS News said they believe that appointing Supreme Court justices for life is a bad thing because it gives them too much power. Thirty-three percent, on the other hand, said lifetime appointments were a good thing because it keeps the justices independent.

The poll (PDF) also showed declining approval for the Supreme Court. Only 44 percent of the respondents approve of the job being done by the U.S. Supreme Court, while 76 percent said they believe the justices sometimes let personal or political views influence their decisions.

Only 13 percent said the justices decide cases based on legal analysis, without regard to their personal or political views.

Survey respondents had their own personal opinions on how the court should rule on the health care law. Forty-one percent said the court should overturn the entire law, and 27 percent said the court should strike down the health insurance mandate.

The findings “are a fresh indication that the court’s standing with the public has slipped significantly in the past quarter-century,” according to the New York Times. A poll taken earlier this year by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press also found a low favorability rating for the court.

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