Chris Geidner reports a new poll by Democracy Corps and obtained in advanced, and published by Buzzfeed in, New Poll: Americans Think The Supreme Court Is Political, Closed Off, And Got Citizens United Wrong.
Geidner tells us other polling from Pew and Gallup show the "court's favorability at historic lows." 71% of respondents favored letting television camera record and broadcast the court's proceedings.
WASHINGTON — Only about a third of Americans believe the Supreme Court decides cases based on the law alone, according to new polling data about the court.
According to the new poll, Americans believe the Supreme Court justices are political, letting their personal views sway their decisions — an opinion held across party lines. And more than three-quarters of Americans oppose the Citizens United ruling four years after the Supreme Court handed down the landmark campaign finance decision.
By large margins, Americans say they would also like to see more openness and accountability from the Supreme Court — on topics from access to courtroom proceedings to financial disclosures and ethics rules — as well as an end to lifetime terms.
Majorities of Republican, Democratic, and Independent respondents all told the pollsters that “the current U.S. Supreme Court justices often let their own personal or political views influence their decisions” — 54% of Democrats, 62% of Republicans, and 63% of Independents, for a total result of 60% of respondents agreeing with the statement. Only 36% of respondents agree that “the current U.S. Supreme Court justices usually decide their cases based on legal analysis without regard to their own personal or political views.”
A majority of respondents would favor term limits for justices as well as requiring them to follow the U.S. Judicial Code of Conduct.
The poll survey 1,004 Americans over 18 years of age, between April 16th to 24th. It has a M.O.E of 3.1% at the 95% confidence level.
9:39 AM PT: When our constitutional framers were designing our government, they set the terms of the House for two years so our government would be responsive to changes in public sentiment, set the term of the President at four years, the Senate at three sets of 6 year staggered terms, and then set SCOTUS terms to life time appointments to provide an anchor and protection against shifting public opinions affecting having too much affect on our foundation legal principles. VClib has proposed 18 year term limits. An 18, 20, or 24 year term limit might be a reasonable compromise.
With the advent of extreme longevity breakthroughs, I think we should consider having some limits, even if only a 50 - 100 rule. 50 years of service or 100 years old whichever comes first. Otherwise, we might still have Chief Justice Robert's brain floating in a jar of neuro-fluids handing down rulings in 2150.