During the December arguments in the case that eventually overturned Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor wondered aloud if the body could remain legitimate. She asked, rhetorically: “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don’t see how it is possible.”
Well, about two months after that horrific ruling, we’re getting a glimpse of just how much it reeks in DC. According to an NBC News/Hart Research poll conducted after the Roe decision, the Supreme Court has a net-negative favorability for the first time in the 30-year history of the survey. The court’s favorability rating sunk to 35 percent approval and 42 percent disapproval among registered voters. That means its approval rating is underwater. In the shitter. Lower than even President Joe Biden’s lowest. (Follow the red squiggle on the chart here to see it cross the navy blue line in August 2022.)
Since the year 2000, more people have said they have high confidence in the court than low. That’s also changed post-Roe, with 37 percent of voters in the NBC News/Hart Research poll saying they have “very little or no confidence” in the Supreme Court, versus 27 percent who have “great or quite a bit of confidence” in it. Just three years ago in December 2019, those numbers were 17 percent and 39 percent, respectively.
This is an institution that will likely weigh in on another abortion case very soon. This time, it won’t be about whether states can ban abortion before fetal viability, it will be about whether emergency room doctors can perform abortions to save their patients’ lives—that’s how much the ground has shifted underneath our feet in this short time. No wonder people are pissed.