Saturday, July 28, 2007

Response to America's View of an Increasingly Conservative USSC

A recent Washington Post article has found that an increasing percentage of Americans view the USSC as "too conservative." While about half of the respondents in a Washington Post-ABC News poll view the Court as issuing "balanced" decisions (perhaps as many ideologically conservative decisions as liberal decisions), there was a jump in the percentage that felt the Court was "too conservative": 31 percent, up from 19 percent in 2005. Those who felt that the Court issued "balanced" decisions also decline from 55 percent to 47 percent in the last two years since the nominations of CJ Roberts and Justice Alito.

The poll is interesting in trying to gauge and analyze how the general American populus views the Court. Given the fact that most of the decisions regarding abortion, race, and free speech this term have been quite complicated it seems that the majority of the Americans surveyed in this poll have oversimplified the issues and the opinions of the newly appointed justices currently sitting on the Court.

While the bottom line of these decisions (regarding abortion, race, and free speech) was against what one normally would view as a liberal position on these issues, the decisions themselves and how the justices reached their respective conclusions matters in how future justices and judges will interpret their decisions. Admittedly, the free speech test applied in Morse was slightly confusing and rather vague in its application, but those decisions regarding abortion and race all
are very careful in how they talk about restricting the rights of abortion and also the use of race in high school admissions.

Perhaps most of the sentiment among Americans about the shift in the High Court comes from what they read and listen to on a daily basis: the media. The media works under time constraints and caters to a public that does not necessarily have the time to digest complicated legal analysis or jargon. Perhaps the bottom line of these decisions is the only real thing that is communicated by the media to the public and having seen only the bottom line, the public perception of the Court and its justices' thinking is not fully understood.

1 comment:

Devil's Advocate said...

The media should stop focusing on the shift of the Court and start focusing on whether or not the decisions are well-reasoned and correct.

Sadly, we see none of that. Here's my take.