- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The approval rating for the Supreme Court has spiked, with 58% of Americans giving the high court a thumbs-up for the past term, according to a Gallup poll published Wednesday.

Republicans, Democrats and independents all gave similar reviews of the high court, a rarity in Gallup polling for the various partisan groups, who almost always have different opinions on an issue.

The last time the Supreme Court received this high of an approval rating was in 2009 — more than a decade ago.

The survey was conducted July 1 through July 23 after the high court wrapped up its 2019 term.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., a Bush appointee, proved to be in the middle of the bench this year, siding with the liberal wing on some major cases.

He voted with the four Democratic appointees to extend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect LGBTQ workers from employment discrimination, struck down a Louisiana law that requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and ruled against the Trump administration in its attempt to roll back President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which protects “Dreamers,” immigrants who were brought as children to the country illegally by their parents — from removal.

Conservatives also saw major wins for religious schools — allowing them to fire whom they desire and providing them with broader access to state grants. The high court also protected religious employers from having to provide free contraception to their employees.

Republicans, Democrats and independents all gave the justices similar approval ratings: 60% of Republicans, 57% of Independents and 56% of Democrats said they approve of the high court’s performance this year.

“If the goal of the Court was to reestablish itself as a nonpolitical institution, it seems to have succeeded in that to a large degree, with higher overall ratings and similar ratings among partisan groups,” said Justin McCarthy, an analyst for Gallup.

Gallup’s analysis suggests the ideological breakdown of the court’s rulings made the justices less popular this with Republican voters than previously, with the opposite true across the political divide. The court’s GOP approval rating dipped 13 percentage points since last year, but it was more popular with Democrats by 18 points.

The poll of 1,007 adults was taken from July 1 to July 23 and has an error margin of 4 percentage points.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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