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Roe v. Wade shows a complex relationship between courts and the general public

Washington-The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision is unpopular with the majority of Americans-but was it important?

The relationship between the people and the judiciary has been studied and discussed by legal and political scientists. Easy answer: It’s complicated. There is evidence that the general public plays an indirect role in the judiciary, but that may be changing.

In final opinion, Judge Samuel Alito wrote that the court “cannot admit that our decision is influenced by external influences, such as concerns about the public’s reaction to our work.” ..

Polls following the leaked draft opinion show that the already suffering Supreme Court approval has fallen further, driven by those who supported the maintenance of Roe.

Courts and public opinion sometimes clashed, but they went into a “symbiotic relationship” over the last 60 years, Barry Friedman suggests in his 2009 book “People’s Will.” The court is not far from public opinion.

It’s certainly hard to know how it happens and whether it remains true. “There is no finder to show what the judge is doing,” said Mayasen, a political scientist and professor at Harvard Kennedy School. “This is a complex chicken-and-egg situation that can unleash these forces, but it’s very difficult to do.”

Is public opinion about abortion clear?

Although there are subtle differences in abortion polls, polls show broad support for Roe and the right to abortion. In a May AP-NORC poll, 70% of adults in the United States said the Supreme Court should leave Roe as it is, rather than overturn it.

According to Sen, Law is one of the “handful of cases” that people admit, and “is recognized as an important Supreme Court case.”

In a May poll, only 8% said abortion should be illegal in all cases, but many Americans support some restrictions. In last year’s AP-NORC poll, the majority of adults said that abortion was all or most often illegal, and commented on whether pregnant women could get a legal abortion for any reason. Was divided.

“I think many Americans believe that there should be some kind of sliding scale where rights are protected and potential life benefits become more important as pregnancy continues,” Sen said. , Added that Law made it possible. Thinking with nuances.

Does Public Opinion Directly Affect Court Decisions?

Researchers have found that court decisions and public opinion are often in line, and some judges themselves admit, but some experts say it’s probably not a direct connection. I am saying.

Joseph Ula, a professor of political science at Texas A & M University, said the most important decision-making was the judge’s “set of political and judicial philosophies that prioritized the outcome of the case.” .. “Everything else is a bit of a limit around it.”

It is difficult to assess causality because the judges themselves experience the same things as everyday Americans.

“It’s really hard to decipher. Was it the public opinion that was driving these decisions, or was it exposed to the same things that judges had a taste for and most of us were exposed to?” Is it just there? “said Elizabeth Lane, an assistant professor of political science at Louisiana State University.

Does public opinion indirectly affect the courts?

Scholars have pointed out the appointment of justice and the legitimacy of courts as a way for the general public to have an indirect impact on courts.

For one thing, voters elect a president to appoint a judge and a senator to confirm the judge.

“In the long run, the courts can stay in line with public opinion, assuming there is a reasonable rotation in which the judge resigns for some reason that is consistent with the party’s historic change of power,” Ura said. Said.

It has been compromised recently, experts say. Coincidentally and by political tactics, more incumbent judges (six of them) were appointed by the Republican President.

In their dissenting opinion, a liberal judge in court wrote:

Judges may also consider how the general public will receive the judgment, but the new abortion judgment reveals that some courts do not believe it is an important consideration. I have.

The court can make a judgment, but it must rely on other parties (public institutions, politicians, and even lower courts) to accept and implement it, Marquette, a professor of law and public policy. Charles Franklin, director of the law school, said.

“It’s doubtful that judges will wake up every morning and check polls to see if people agree,” Franklin said. We need public support. “

The standards of support that courts need may change. Due to the deepening political polarization, the reaction from civil servants and elected civil servants is “less currency” than before, Ura said. Controversial or unpopular decisions do not necessarily cause the wrath of bipartisan coalitions.

Is it important if public faith in court is low?

Courts have historically enjoyed consistently positive views among the public. However, Polling has shown confidence in the court, and court approval began to decline last year, worsening since the draft was leaked. Is it important that public confidence in the court is low?

“The idea of ​​court legitimacy was a way that it could maintain itself when it ruled against the majority,” Franklin said.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor recently emphasized the need for public faith in the court system. Judge Elena Kagan in 2018 explains why:

Michael Salamone, a professor of political science at Washington State University, explained that “specific support” (as measured by polls) for courts can easily fluctuate depending on the reaction to the court’s decision. .. However, “diffusion support” (trust in the role of institutions in democracy) is historically resilient. It is not yet known if that diffused support will suffer due to the decision to overthrow Roe.

“I wonder if we’ve probably reached the limits of our resilience, based on the amount of rhetoric and the high-profile nature of these decisions,” he said.

Copyright © 2022 By AP communication. all rights reserved.



Roe v. Wade shows a complex relationship between courts and the general public

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