A new poll out from Marquette Law School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, finds that Americans on a wide variety of issues believe the Supreme Court should uphold a number of decisions (and overturn others) that demonstrate they favor progressive ideals in the judicial system.
On a number of controversial issues discussed within the Marquette Law School poll, Americans want the High Court to rule in a liberal manner:
- 61 percent say they would prefer the Supreme Court uphold the precedent established in Roe v. Wade, that grants women the right to access safe and legal abortion procedures in the United States;
- 52 percent oppose efforts to have the Supreme Court take down the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare;
- 57 percent oppose the idea that a person’s religious beliefs should grant them the right to discriminate against patrons who are part of the LGBTQ community (conversely, 61 percent believe that federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex should apply to that community as well);
- and 75 percent oppose the Citizens United decision decided nearly a decade ago, which held that corporations could spend unlimited amounts of cash in electoral campaign advertising.
On some questions, there were disturbing trends. For example, almost a quarter of Americans, 23 percent, believe that the president of the United States has the right to ignore a ruling from the Supreme Court deeming a law or action unconstitutional. Among Republican respondents, that number shot up to 30 percent who believed as much. The silver lining with those stats, however, is that a majority still understand that a president doesn’t have that much power.
On ways in which the Supreme Court can be improved, a majority oppose increasing its size, by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent who say it should be “stacked.” Meanwhile, Americans seem ready to end the lifetime tenures of justices on the Court, with 72 percent saying a tenure limit should be imposed.
— Richard Wolf (@richardjwolf) October 21, 2019
The most popular member of the Supreme Court was deemed to be Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had a 41 percent approval rating and only a 17 percent disapproval count.
As far as who should become future members of the Court, the poll found that most Americans didn’t think Trump was a good person to make the next pick. Only 32 percent said they were confident in the president’s ability to fill the next vacancy, while 56 percent said they have little or no confidence in Trump to pick the next justice.
Finally, when it came to how the justices themselves should interpret the Constitution, a majority rejected a long-held belief espoused by conservative jurists — that of the “original intent” doctrine, which says justices should only rule based on what is written and originally intended by the founders of the document. Conversely, 57 percent believe the Constitution should be interpreted as a “living document” whose provisions evolve to fit with the changing times.