Alliance for Jusice Poll Shows Americans Concerned About Pro-Corporate Bias and Politicization on the Supreme Court
Press ContactKevin Fry firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, D.C., June 14, 2012—With national attention riveted on the United States Supreme Court as major decisions loom on the Affordable Care Act, the Arizona immigration law, and other key cases, a national poll conducted by Alliance for Justice has found that only 41% of voters approve of the way the Court is handling its job. In addition, a majority believe it is functioning as a political institution and have serious concerns that the justices’ decisions favor corporate interests over those of individual Americans.
The AFJ findings echo other national polling undertaken in the past decade that has consistently shown a significant erosion of approval of the institution, threatening to undermine respect for the Court’s integrity, and, hence, its authority. The poll also indicates that public perceptions may be further affected by a close decision on the health care case if the justices divide strictly along ideological lines.
In order to explore possible underlying causes of the well-documented decline of public support for the Court, Alliance for Justice commissioned Hart Research Associates to conduct a national poll on voters’ attitudes and concerns about the nation’s most important legal institution. The survey was undertaken on May 1-4, 2012, following the oral arguments in the health care case, and consisted of a nationwide telephone poll of registered voters.
AFJ President Nan Aron commented on the survey’s results, saying, “This poll demonstrates that the American people are beginning to lose faith in the fairness and objectivity of the Supreme Court. At the same time that cases like Bush v. Gore and Citizens United have led many to believe the Court is acting as a political body, a rash of pro-corporate decisions such as Wal-Mart v. Dukes and AT&T v. Concepcion have reinforced the notion that the conservative majority is interested mainly in protecting the rights of the powerful over those of everyday Americans.”
Aron went on to say that, “When only four in 10 Americans approve of the way the Supreme Court is doing its job, something has gone terribly wrong. The authority of the Court – and acceptance of the rule of law itself – depends on a perception that cases are heard fairly and equitably and that everyone who comes before the Court has the same chance for justice. When that perception falters, and the public feels that outcomes are predetermined by ideology or that powerful forces receive preferential treatment, the foundations of our legal system start to crumble. This poll serves as a wake-up call that something has begun to change in the way the American people see the Court and that their growing dissatisfaction can no longer be ignored.”
Among the key findings of the Alliance for Justice survey are:
VOTER APPROVAL OF THE SUPREME COURT IS ONLY 41%
VOTERS BELIEVE THE COURT SIDES WITH CORPORATIONS OVER INDIVIDUALS
VOTERS BELIEVE POLITICS INFLUENCES COURT DECISIONS
A detailed summary of the poll results can be downloaded here: http://www.afj.org/connect-with-the-issues/supreme-court-ethics-reform/hart-afj-scotus-attitudes.pdf
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Alliance for Justice is a national association of over 100 organizations, representing a broad array of groups committed to progressive values and the creation of an equitable, just, and free society. AFJ works to ensure that the federal judiciary advances core constitutional values, preserves human rights and unfettered access to the courts, and adheres to the even-handed administration of justice for all Americans. It is the leading expert on the legal framework for nonprofit advocacy efforts, providing definitive information, resources, and technical assistance that encourages organizations and their funding partners to fully exercise their right to be active participants in the democratic process. AFJ is based in Washington, D.C. Additional information can be found at www.afj.org.