Americans’ approval of the US Supreme Court fell to 49% this year after hitting a 10-year high in 2020, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday, underscoring the country’s changing opinion of the newly solidified 6-3 conservative majority court.
The 49% approval rating – and 44% disapproval rating – given to the high court stands in stark contrast to where public opinion on the court was last year, when 58% of Americans told Gallup they approved of the court.
The new figure represents the first sub-50% rating the court has received since 2017.
While the poll shows that Democrats and Republicans both gave the Supreme Court a 51% approval rating this year, the ranking from independents was lower. The new national figure provides insight into how the country views the court after a busy term marked by decisions favorable to both conservatives and liberals and by the court’s conservative majority, which was strengthened by the addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett last year following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The poll, conducted between July 6 and 21, came just after the court wrapped its latest term, during which the justices issued decisions in a slew of high-profile cases, including the rejection of a third challenge to the Affordable Care Act, a pro-free speech opinion in a case concerning a high schooler’s profanity laced outburst and a pro-student athletes ruling that will allow players to receive education-related payments.
The court also issued rulings in cases concerning an Arizona elections law, a Catholic foster care agency that refused to work with same-sex couples as potential foster parents and a transgender student’s ability to use the bathroom that corresponded to his gender identity.
The new figure also reflects the public’s opinion of the court following the confirmation last year of Barrett, its latest member who helped shore up the court’s conservative majority, and the decision by Justice Stephen Breyer to remain on the court despite progressive calls for the 82-year-old liberal jurist to retire.