Roe the last straw? 63% of Americans already believe the Supreme Court is politically motivated

The survey comes as the court is increasingly beleaguered by accusations of politically biased decision-making

By Jon Skolnik

Staff Writer

Published May 20, 2022 11:20AM (EDT)

Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barret (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barret (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

About 63% of all American voters believe that the Supreme Court's decision-making is primarily driven by politics, according to a new survey released by Quinnipiac University. 

The survey also revealed that just 32% believe that the court is mostly motivated by law, while as many as seven in ten Americans feel that the court's justices should be given term limits. 

The survey was published just days after a Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that 74% of Americans believe the Supreme Court has become "too politicized."

Jamison Foser, a progressive strategist and adviser to Take Back the Court, told The Washington Post that the Quinnipiac survey reflects "a growing recognition of the need to rebalance the Supreme Court and disempower the court's right-wing majority."

"Without doing so, everything from abortion and voting rights to environmental protections is likely to be struck down," Foser added. 

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The survey comes amid a public uproar around what many critics on the left have derided as an array of partisan Supreme Court rulings in recent months. 

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Earlier this month, Politico reported that the court has already informally voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that established America's constitutional right to abortion. Critics have also expressed outrage over the court's rescission of President Biden's mask mandate for private sector workers, as well as its reversal of the Centers for Disease Control's eviction moratorium, first enacted in order to buoy millions Americans buckling under the financial consequences of the pandemic. 

The court, for its part, has been adamantly opposed to the notion that it's motivated by politics. 

Back in September, Justice Amy Coney Barrett insisted that the bench is "not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks."

"The media, along with hot takes on Twitter, report the results and decisions," Barrett later said. "That makes the decision seem results-oriented. It leaves the reader to judge whether the court was right or wrong, based on whether she liked the results of the decision."

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That same month, Justice Clarence Thomas echoed a similar sentiment, accusing the media of making "it sound as though you are just always going right to your personal preference."

"They think you become like a politician," Clarence told a crowd at Notre Dame University. "That's a problem. You're going to jeopardize any faith in the legal institutions."

Thomas has been plagued by accusations of bias over the activities of his wife, Ginni Thomas, a right-wing activist who reportedly played an instrumental role in a failed scheme to reinstall Donald Trump as president in the 2020 election.

By Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik is a staff writer at Salon. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, The Baffler, and The New York Daily News.

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