For the first time in nearly three decades, the Supreme Court’s public favorability rating has dropped below 50%, a new Pew Research centre survey shows. The views of blacks in particular have gotten a lot more negative in the aftermath of recent decisions.
The national survey of 1,480 adults found that only 48% of respondents viewed the court favourably while 38% had an unfavorable opinion. Blacks approve of the court’s decisions at even lower rates. Currently, 44% of black respondents had a favourable view of the court while 41% had an unfavorable opinion.
Data for both demographics has dropped since Pew’s last national poll. In March, 52% of all respondents and 61% of black respondents held a favourable view of the court.
That 17% per cent drop among black respondents could correspond to the Supreme Court’s recent decision to gut the the Voting Rights Act. The VRA — arguably America’s most important civil rights law — ensured states didn’t discriminate against blacks and other minorities.
Rev. Al Sharpton said the VRA decision “canceled Martin Luther King’s dream.”
The justices also sent a university affirmative action case back down to a lower court, asking judges to further scrutinize the admissions policy at the University of Texas, Austin. For now, that decision will likely pressure colleges to justify their existing affirmative action programs, which are intended to give blacks and other minorities a leg up in admissions. Many legal experts also view the decision as the beginning of the end of affirmative action.
Read Pew’s full report here.
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