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Beginning to see the light

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The public seems to be recognizing the truth about the Supreme Court:

A new Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows that Americans’ confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court has collapsed over the last 20 months — a period that began with former President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans installing a 6-3 conservative majority ahead of the 2020 election and culminated last week with the leak of a draft opinion signaling that five GOP-appointed justices plan to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The last time Yahoo News/YouGov asked about confidence in the court was in September 2020, a few days after liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and a few days before Trump nominated conservative jurist Amy Coney Barrett to replace her.

Back then, 70% of registered voters said they had either “some” (50%) or “a lot” (20%) of confidence in the court, and 30% said they had either “a little” (23%) or “none” (7%). But the new survey of 1,577 U.S. adults, which was conducted immediately after the leak, found that registered voters have swung from mostly having confidence in the Supreme Court — by a colossal 40-point margin — to being evenly split on the question. Today, just half of voters still express some (37%) or a lot (14%) of confidence in the court, while the other half now expresses either a little (24%) or none (26%).

The idea that public institutions are entitled to some fixed level of legitimacy irrespective of what they do has always been very dumb. Republicans have had an incredible bargain in which liberals have been slow to recognize the nature of the Supreme Court, but the lame duck Barrett confirmation and the imminent overruling of Roe seems to have broken the spell, and good.

The inside-baseball handwringing about the leak isn’t going to change anything among non-Republicans either:

But the new Yahoo News/YouGov poll suggests that the leak itself may not be the Supreme Court’s main problem. For starters, Americans are divided over whether the leak is a “good thing” (30%), a “bad thing” (37%) or something they’re not sure about (33%). Second, politics is clearly playing a part here. Driven by an assumption that the leaker was “pro-choice” (38%) rather than “pro-life” (20%) — an assumption that has yet to be confirmed — far more Republicans consider the leak bad (59%) than good (19%), and far more Democrats consider it good (50%) than bad (20%).

Odd that “we demand the ability to take away your rights in total secrecy” isn’t finding a lot of traction; it seems like such an unappealing concept on paper.

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