Polls Conflict on Public View of Court After Health Care Hearings

The Supreme Court’s marathon hearings over the federal health care law apparently changed public opinion about the court, but polls gave conflicting reports about which way opinion shifted.

According to a Rasmussen Reports poll, likely voters who judged the Supreme Court’s performance as good or excellent increased 13 points, from 28 percent in mid-March to 41 percent after the hearings, UPI said.

But a poll released last week by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 21 percent of Americans have a less favorable view of the court following the  oral arguments, compared to 7 percent with a more favorable view, Juan Williams wrote in The Hill.

Meanwhile the debate over President Obama’s remarks on the Supreme Court and the future of his administration’s health care overhaul continued.

In the Atlantic, Andrew Cohen discussed the difference between “decisional” and “institutional” independence of the judiciary, and criticisms from politicians on each front. The former involves the notion “that individual judges or courts should be free from political pressure when they are deciding specific cases,” he wrote, and the latter, “the idea that the judiciary as a whole should be free from too much political power and influence” from the other two branches.” Attacks on “institutional” independence are worse, he said.

Meanwhile, a Radio Iowa headline reported, “Governor joins [Sen. Chuck] Grassley in blasting Obama’s Supreme Court statements.”  A New York Times blog, in turn, was headlined, “Grassley Assailed for Calling Obama ‘Stupid’ on Twitter.” A McClatchy article reported, “Obama vs. Supreme Court is latest episode in recurring rivalry.”


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