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Poll shows confidence in Supreme Court was spiraling even before leak

Turns out, Americans aren't buying the conservative claims about the Supreme Court's legitimacy.


Sensing a loss of public trust in the wake of regressive rulings on voting and abortion rights, several conservative Supreme Court justices have tried — through public statements — to retain the court’s semblance of objectivity and credibility.

But new polling data suggests most Americans simply aren’t buying these justices’ claims. 

A Yahoo News/YouGov poll published this week showed a significant decline in Americans’ confidence in the Supreme Court, spanning from conservative Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation to the court in 2020 to last week’s revelation that the court is preparing to overturn federal abortion rights.

As it turns out, rolling back civil rights until they resemble the Redemption era is deeply unpopular.

The poll found half of registered voters now have little or no confidence in the Supreme Court. Specifically, 26 percent of respondents said they have no confidence in the court at all, while 24 percent said they have “a little” confidence. Just 37 percent said they have “some” confidence, and a meager 14 percent said they have “a lot” of confidence in the court.

Republicans, independents and Democrats all showed less confidence in the court now than they did in 2020, the poll found. And the percentage of registered voters who think the court is too politicized increased to 74 percent from 67 percent in 2020.

Those numbers show a precipitous loss of faith in the court since a similar poll was conducted in September 2020, days before then-President Donald Trump nominated Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ahead of the 2020 election. 

In that poll, 70 percent of registered voters said they had some or a lot of confidence in the court, and only 30 percent said they had a little confidence or none at all.

This flies in the face of Republicans who seem to be trying to shame the public into accepting the conservative-tilted court’s oppressive rulings. 

During a speech last week, Justice Clarence Thomas alluded to protests over the court's likely decision to overturn the Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that guaranteed constitutional abortion rights. Thomas seemingly blamed "young" people for the protests and suggested their collective action "bodes ill for a free society."

In the fall, Barrett claimed — amid mounting outrage over the court’s conservative rulings — the court "is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks."

Trump's decision to nominate Barrett, like the nominations of other conservatives on the court, was largely influenced by the Federalist Society, a prominent group of conservative lawyers. Her seat on the court is literally the product of partisan hackery.

But rest assured, the gaslighting doesn’t end with her. 

In the fall, Justice Samuel Alito — the author of the leaked draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade — claimed during a petulant speech that the Supreme Court isn’t “a dangerous cabal” that is “deciding important issues in a novel, secretive, improper way, in the middle of the night, hidden from public view.”

He evidently doesn’t think rescinding Americans’ bodily autonomy is dangerous. This new poll underscores why conservatives are getting mouthy in defense of the court: They can sense the public’s growing intolerance for its draconian rulings.