The favorability of the U.S. Supreme Court dropped to a new low in June, a new New York Times/CBS poll released Thursday showed. Mirroring this drop, the popularity of President Barack Obama's 2010 universal health care law, which the court is expected to rule on this month, is also falling.
Over one-third of Americans, or 36 percent, disapprove of the way the Supreme Court is handling its job, the NYT/CBS poll said. This is up from a Pew Research Center poll released on May 1 showing 29 percent disapproval of the court.
Americans' favorable views of the health care law, to be ruled on this month by the court, are also down, providing another challenge to the president's agenda in an election year. Over 40 percent of those polled said they wanted to see a total overturn of the law. This is the highest yet, compared with 38 percent in March and 37 percent in April.
Although a poll like this is educational for mapping public opinion, the views of the general populace are not meant to have a role in Supreme Court decisions. Even so, a whopping 76 percent of those polled believe the justices make rulings depending on their personal and political beliefs rather than the law.
Likewise, 55 percent believe the justices will rule on the health care law according to their own views. This number, and another showing 60 percent of those polled are against lifetime appointments for the justices, show a growing American dissatisfaction with the Supreme Court system as a whole.
President Obama has urged the court not to engage in "political activism" in ruling on health care reform, signaling the impending executive-judicial battle over the law.
"I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress," Obama said in a press conference on April 2.
"I'd just remind conservative commentators that for years what we've heard is the biggest problem on the bench is judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint," he added.
Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) made a plea on the floor of congress Thursday, June 7 to allow the Supreme Court to rule on the health care law without what he called this "political bullying."
"Contrary to what President Obama might think, it is not 'unprecedented' or 'extraordinary' for the Court to strike down a clearly unconstitutional statute, and it certainly does not amount to judicial activism," Sessions said Thursday.
"The Court's reputation will be damaged if it bows to this political bullying, but not if it follows the Constitution. I think it's wrong to disparage and threaten the Court during the pendency of a case in order to influence the outcome."
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on 2010's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) this month. PPACA requires Americans not covered by employer health insurance to obtain minimal coverage or, barring religious belief or financial hardship, pay a fine.
by RTT Staff Writer
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