Rebuilding Public Trust and Confidence in the Courts

Judicature, July/August 2012 | Go to article overview

Rebuilding Public Trust and Confidence in the Courts


Affordable Care Act latest controversial ruling to spark polarization and disagreement

The recent high profile decision by the United States Supreme Court upholding the Obama administration's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was met with surprise in many circles. A national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, released shortly after the decision, found that the top single-word reactions to the court's decision are "disappointed" and "surprised." While "disappointed" is by far the top reaction among those who disapprove of the decision, "good," "surprised" and "happy" are the top words among those who approve of the ruling.

The court's decision in the Health Care Cases was unexpected not just for its outcome but also because of Chief Justice Roberts' participation in writing the majority opinion, which upheld the health care law's individual mandate, a controversial provision that requires all Americans to purchase minimum essential health care coverage. Many predictions made before the ruling focused on the perceived political and ideological preferences of the justices, and assumed that Roberts would join the four dissenting justices in voting to overturn the law. Instead, the majority opinion, authored by Roberts, upheld the individual mandate as a tax, authorized by Congress' enumerated constitutional power to "lay and collect taxes."

Some commentators have described Roberts' opinion as an exercise in judicial statesmanship and restraint. References to the limited role of the judiciary in our constitutional framework contain sincere echoes of the vivid baseball analogy Roberts made in his Senate confirmation hearings about seeing a justice's role as "calling balls and strikes." The opinion's emphasis on judicial restraint reminds us that, while each justice may apply individual approaches to interpreting the law, each also endeavors to exercise appropriate restraint in extending the proper measure of deference to statutes enacted in Congress.

At the national level, public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary is on the decline: some recent polls show that 75% of Americans believe judges'decisionsare influenced by their personal or political beliefs. In much media coverage of federal court decisions, the political affiliation of the president who appointed the particular federal judge or justice is prominently highlighted. The public is often left with the impression that U.S. Supreme Court justices vote based on their political philosophy, almost as if the court were a super-legislature voting on party lines. Favorable views of the U.S. Supreme Court have dipped below 50%, and public opinion has grown more negative since the ruling on the Affordable Care Act was released. A New York Times/CBS poll released on July 18th shows that 41% of Americans approve of the job the court is doing. The same share, 41%, expresses disapproval. A few weeks before the health care decision, the court's approval rating was higher, with 44% approving and 36% disapproving.

This polling in the wake of the health care decision seems to portray a continuing slide in public trust and confidence in the Supreme Court, and a public unwilling to accept the notion that Supreme Court justices are loyal to the law rather than their personal political preferences. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Rebuilding Public Trust and Confidence in the Courts
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.