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Do People Care About the Supreme Court?

By George Khoury, Esq. on August 29, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A recently released survey about the American public's views on SCOTUS has some interesting, and potentially good news.

First the good news: The survey, conducted by PSB, and reported by C-SPAN, explains that nearly 70 percent of Americans have been following the news of the recent Supreme Court nominations. This is good because it shows the American public is interested in the High Court. This is bolstered by the fact that over 90 percent believe Supreme Court decisions impact their everyday life. And while that might not be that shocking, given how highly politicized the Court has been, since forever, notably the survey found that only a little more than half of Americans believe that the Court is split along partisan grounds.

The High Court Should be Televised

The survey reports that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that the High Court should be televising oral arguments. And even more believe that if SCOTUS continues to refuse to allow TV, it should release same day audio of the arguments.

It's a wonder why SCOTUS hasn't opened the door to television cameras. While rarely do you ever hear about lawyers botching cases at the Supreme Court, the quality of the arguments and lawyering would likely be expected to increase with live televised oral arguments. The lawyers will want to look good on camera.

Love to Hate

Although news of the public being interested in the Supreme Court is good, it might not be for the best reasons. Recent Pew research shows that Kavanaugh's poll numbers aren't great. Only 41 percent of those surveyed by Pew said he should be confirmed. Justice Gorsuch faced similar numbers in the public opinion polls, which notably are lower than past nominees.

The partisan public divide over Kavanaugh is rather apparent. Pew's numbers showed that nearly 75 percent of Republicans (and Independent leaning Republicans) want him confirmed, while over 60 percent of Democrats (and Independent-leaning Democrats) don't want him confirmed.

While the High Court may have a history of being a political institution (after all, the Justices are appointed by a politician), the public viewing it as such may not be the best thing for maintaining the public's confidence in the system.

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