Solid majority believes Supreme Court rulings based more on politics than law

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A broad majority of Americans — more than 6 in 10 — believes the Supreme Court bases its decisions more on the justices’ political views than on the Constitution and law, a national survey released Wednesday shows.

The new data, which came from the polling firm Selzer, appeared to reflect a growing disappointment with the 6-3 conservative majority court ahead of a potentially blockbuster term and at a critical juncture for the court’s public perception.

“This is the moment John Roberts has been trying to avoid,” said Grinnell College political scientist Peter Hanson, who helped direct the poll. “He’s worked very hard trying to protect the courts as an apolitical institution, and that’s failed.”

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The poll revealed that broad majorities would also prefer that the justices be limited to 15-year terms instead of holding lifetime appointments on the bench.

Somewhat surprisingly, majorities among those who cast ballots in 2020 for President Biden and for former President Trump both saw the court as politicized and favored term limits, though in varying degrees.

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