A recent Gallup poll reflects that Americans’ trust in and approval of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) are at historic lows. Only 47% of adults said they had “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the federal government’s judicial branch, according to the annual Governance Survey conducted from September 1 to 16.
This number reflects an all-time low and is a 20-point drop from two years ago. Historically, trust levels have exceeded 60% since the 1970s. While both political parties have historically railed against the Court when they didn’t like rulings, the past several years included the leaked memo of the Roe v. Wade reversal, a Biden-appointed commission on court-packing amidst serious clamoring for the move by Democrats, and a general questioning by Democrats of the legitimacy of the Court.
When filtered by party affiliation, 67% of Republicans said they had “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the predominantly conservative-leaning Court, compared to 46% of independents and 25% of Democrats.
In last year’s poll, 50% of Democrats professed trust in the Supreme Court.
Additionally, only 40% of Americans surveyed said they approve of the way the Supreme Court is doing its job, while a record-high 58% said they disapprove.
Gallup also asked respondents how they viewed the Court’s ideological leanings. When asked whether the Supreme Court is “too liberal, too conservative, or just about right,” a majority has always selected “about right” in previous surveys.
This year, however, only 38% responded “about right,” while 42% said the Court is “too conservative” — a record high for that response — and 18% said “too liberal.” A majority of Republicans — 58% — selected “about right,” compared to 18% of Democrats and 35% of independents.
During the last Supreme Court session, the Justices issued a major ruling in the 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, which effectively struck down the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that limited states’ authority to restrict abortion.
The Supreme Court Justices take the bench on Monday, October 3, to begin the 2022 term, which will include a lineup of voting laws, racial discrimination, and religious liberty cases.