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New poll: 54% of Americans disapprove of Supreme Court following Roe draft opinion leak

Leaked Report Indicates Supreme Court Set To Overturn Roe v. Wade
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 04: Fences surround the Supreme Court Building as abortion-rights advocates demonstrate for the third day on May 4, 2022 in Washington, DC. Demonstrations across the country continue as abortion-rights and anti-abortion advocates react to the leaked initial draft majority opinion indicating the U.S. Supreme Court would overturn two abortion-related cases, which would end federal protection of abortion rights. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

By Devan Cole, CNN

A majority of Americans — 54% — now say they disapprove of the job the Supreme Court is doing following the leak of the draft opinion showing the justices are poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to a new poll released Wednesday

The Marquette Law School poll findings represent a dramatic change from how Americans viewed the court in March, the last time the survey was conducted. Then, 54% of respondents said they approved of the nine justices and 45% said they disapproved. Now, only 44% approve.

Taken a week after the nation learned of a draft opinion authored by conservative Justice Samuel Alito that showed the high court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide, the survey underscores the deep opposition to the possible move. Days after the leak, a CNN poll conducted by SSRS showed that Americans remain broadly opposed to overturning the Roe decision, with 66% saying it should not be completely struck down.

The new Marquette Law School poll showed that among Democrats, approval of the Supreme Court following the leak also took a notable hit since March, with just 26% of Democrats approving of the court this month as compared to 49% two months ago. Republicans, meanwhile, gave the court a 68% approval rating this month, up from the 64% they gave it in March.

The Supreme Court’s approval rating has been on the decline recently. Last summer, a Gallup poll showed Americans giving the court a 49% approval rating — and 44% disapproval rating — that stood in stark contrast to where public opinion on the court was in 2020, when 58% of Americans told Gallup they approved of the court. That new figure represented the first sub-50% rating the court has received since 2017.

In addition to the leak, which represented an rare embarrassing moment for the traditionally secretive court, a number of other recent episodes are likely to blame for the slipping numbers, including revelations about efforts by Ginni Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, to overturn the results of the 2020 election, and Thomas’ public jabs at Chief Justice John Roberts.

Earlier this year, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that she and her fellow justices all think about how to “comport” themselves to try to ensure public confidence as Americans’ view of the high court has worsened in recent months.

“I think all of us worry about that. We think about ways in which we can comport ourselves, among ourselves, to ensure that the public has confidence in what we’re doing,” Sotomayor, one of the court’s liberal members, told NBC News in response to a question about the decline in the public’s trust of the court.

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