- The Washington Times - Monday, July 14, 2014

Americans remain split on how they feel about the Supreme Court’s performance, however the justices’ ratings are among their lowest in the last 14 years, Gallup said.

The pollsters said 47 percent approve of the court of late, with 46 percent disapproving.

“Since Gallup began asking the question in 2000, Americans have typically been more likely to approve than to disapprove of the job the Supreme Court is doing,” Gallup said.

But the margin between the two has been narrowing since a high point in 2009, and polling shows Americans’ confidence is all three branches is down.

Gallup measured the court’s approving ratings after a busy 2013-2014 term that included high-profile decisions on prayer at town council meetings, buffer zones near abortion clinics, whether public unions could force certain workers to join and pay dues. Most recently, it said closely held corporations do not have to insure contraception even though an Obamacare regulation required it.

Republican support of the Supreme Court is up 21 points since September — 30 percent to 51 percent — while independents’ approval changed little, from 47 percent to 46 percent. Support among Democrats, however, dropped from 58 percent to 44 percent.

The trend was likely due in part to the court’s decision in the contraception case, known as “Hobby Lobby,” because conservatives viewed the 5-4 ruling as a win for religious liberty and a blow against Obamacare.

“Controversial decisions since 2012 have resulted in dramatic changes in views of the court among Americans of different party affiliations,” Gallup said. “However, this term, nearly two-thirds of the court’s decisions were unanimous, in contrast to the 5-4 split in the two high-profile cases at the end. Americans’ current views more closely reflect the court’s own ideological divisions in these two recent decisions, rather than its bipartisan unanimity.”

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