The Supreme Court has fallen out of favour with Republicans.
According to a new Gallup survey, the Court’s approval rating among GOP voters has fallen to a record low 18%.
At the same time, more than three-quarters of Democrats who were surveyed viewed the Supreme Court favourably (76%).
It’s the Court’s widest approval margin in 15 years.
Reasons for the disparity can be deduced from some of the latest historic rulings to come down from the bench.
In what was one of its most consequential sessions in recent memory, the high court first upheld a key provision in the Affordable Care Act in a 6-3 vote.
The ruling arguably ensured the law’s survival and cemented a win for the Obama administration — thanks in part to Chief Justice John Roberts, who joined the Court’s liberals in writing the majority opinion.
Shortly after, the court issued a ruling that legalised same-sex marriage nationwide, scoring a cornerstone victory for gay rights advocates — and, by extension, the Obama administration, which had become increasingly vocal of its support of gay marriage in recent years.
Though Roberts panned the ruling in his dissenting opinion, he said his view was not about his personal opinion of same-sex marriage, but instead about how he viewed the court’s capacity to decide the matter.
Gallup notes that over the last 15 years, the Supreme Court’s approval swings tended to follow judicial rulings on topics that fundamentally divide Republicans and Democrats.
In 2012, in the midst of a presidential campaign, a Supreme Court ruling affirmed Congress’ ability to fine some Americans who failed to purchase health insurance. A Gallup poll at the time placed GOP approval of the Court at 29% and Democrats at 68%.
And in 2000, after the Court handed a decisive election victory to then-Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush (R-Texas) following a dispute with former Vice President Al Gore (D-Tennessee) over the vote count in Florida, the Supreme Court’s Republican approval rocketed to 80%. Only 42% of Democrats approved at the time.
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