- The Washington Times - Friday, July 17, 2015

Supreme Court justices John G. Roberts Jr. and Anthony Kennedy are more likely to get a thumbs-up from Democrats than Republicans even though they were appointed by GOP presidents, according to polling that reflects the fallout from two major decisions in the latest term.

Gallup says 37 percent of Democrats view Chief Justice Roberts favorably, while 15 percent hold a negative view. The rest had no opinion.

Republicans, meanwhile, are down on the justice appointed by former President George W. Bush, 23 percent to 43 percent.

Justice Roberts devastated conservatives last month by siding with the court’s liberal wing to save Obamacare for the second time in three years.

In a 6-3 opinion, Justice Roberts said the Affordable Care Act as a whole extended government subsidies to customers who purchased coverage on the federal HealthCare.gov exchange, despite phrasing in one section that ordered up tax credits for exchanges “established by the state.”

Justice Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, joined the majority in that decision and, days later, was the pivotal vote in a 5-4 decision affirming same-sex couples’ right to marry in all the states.

Democrats like him at the moment — 36 percent to 10 percent — while only 18 percent of Republicans see him favorably, compared to 39 percent who don’t.

“It appears their high-profile deciding votes on same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act have endeared Kennedy and Roberts to Democrats and turned Republicans off to them, even though all were appointed by a Republican president and typically vote more with the court’s conservative wing than its liberal wing,” Gallup said.

Republicans haven’t cooled to Justice Antonin Scalia, a staunch member of the court’s conservative wing who voted against Obamacare and same-sex marriage. They see him favorably, 35 percent to 29 percent.

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