Gallup: Republicans, Democrats Shift Views About Roberts

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision upholding most of the Affordable Care Act apparently caused “a major shift” in the views of both Republicans and Democrats regarding the court and Chief Justice John Roberts, who cast the deciding vote, a new Gallup poll shows.

“Whereas Republicans were initially highly favorable toward Roberts in 2005, when he was considered a conservative justice appointed by a conservative Republican president, their opinions are now more negative than positive,” according to Gallup. Republicans’ favorable rating of Justice Roberts declined 40 percentage points from 67 percent to 27 percent now, while Democrats’ favorable rating rose 19 percentage points, from 35 percent to 54 percent now.

“Opinions about the U.S. Supreme Court more broadly have shifted in similar fashion,” Gallup reported. “Republicans and Democrats had roughly similar favorable opinions of the court last September. Now, about two-thirds of Republicans have an unfavorable opinion, while about the same percentage of Democrats have a favorable opinion.”

Meanwhile, a rare commentary about the Supreme Court’s ruling from the vantage point of another top judge was penned by Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

“Of the millions of words written and spoken about the Supreme Court’s decision … too many have focused on labels and politics, too few on the principles of judging. Chief Justice John Roberts’ decision, regardless of anyone’s opinion of whether he was ‘right’ or ‘wrong,’ reflected a basic approach to judicial service that many of us who wear black robes at work try to use,” she wrote in a Cap Times opinion piece.

At Foreign Affairs, professor Barry Friedman of the New York University School of Law wrote a lengthy analysis that concluded:

“Both the left and the right today often look to the Supreme Court to fight their political battles for them rather than engage in the messy business of effectively designing and executing policy. But Roberts refused the temptation to take up that responsibility, understanding that his and the Court’s reputations were at stake. In that sense, he reestablished the boundaries between the three branches of government and between law and politics. And that, above all, might be the most lasting legacy of the ACA decision.”


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