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Poll: SCOTUS Public Approval Hits Nine-Year High

Supreme Court nominee judge Neil Gorsuch smiles at his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, March 20, 2017. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Public approval of the Supreme Court has reached its highest point since 2009 in the wake of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.

The poll, which found that 53 percent of Americans approve of the court while 41 percent disapprove, was conducted from July 1 to July 11 as President Trump vetted potential nominees before ultimately settling on Kavanaugh to replace Kennedy, who is retiring. The findings also followed a series of high-profile rulings, including the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which were handed down last month and broke predominantly for conservatives.

Unsurprisingly given the imminent conservative shift on the bench, approval divided sharply along partisan lines, with 72 percent of Republicans reporting approval compared to 38 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Americans overall. Among those polled, 21 percent said the court is too liberal while 29 percent said it was too conservative and 44 percent said it was about right.

The strong Republican approval continued a trend that began with Trump’s election and his nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch, which helped prompt a 39-percentage-point increase in Republican support from September 2016 to September 2017.

In addition to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, in which the court ruled that a Christian baker could not be compelled to create a custom wedding cake for a gay couple, the Court also upheld last month the constitutionality of an Ohio law that removed from voter rolls citizens who had not voted or responded to a notification from the government in four years. In another high-profile ruling, the court upheld the third version of the Trump administration’s so-called travel ban, which restricted travel from seven nations, six of which are majority Muslim.

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