Feb 2, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court approval rating tanks as Biden weighs Breyer replacement

Favorable opinion of Supreme Court, by party
Data: Pew Research Center; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

Americans' disapproval of the Supreme Court has been rising, with 44% now having an unfavorable opinion, according to new survey results from Pew Research Center.

Why it matters: The shift comes as President Biden weighs a replacement for Justice Stephen Breyer, who announced his retirement last week, and following partisan fights about the seatings of Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

  • The percentage of Americans who view the court favorably has fallen from 69% in August 2019 to 54% last month.

By the numbers: SCOTUS favorability plummeted among Democrats and Democratic-leaners in recent years — understandably, as former President Trump named three conservative judges to the bench: Kavanaugh, Barrett and Neil Gorsuch.

  • Democrats are now more likely to view the Supreme Court unfavorably than favorably, according to the polling.
  • But Republican discontent has been on the rise, too.
  • More than one-in-three of American adults who are or lean Republican said they view the high court unfavorably — up from just 14% in August 2019.
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