Mitch McConnell's hijacking of the Supreme Court is already backfiring

Mitch McConnell's hijacking of the Supreme Court is already backfiring
Mitch McConnell/Shutterstock

On second thought, maybe it wasn't the best idea to overturn a 50-year-old Supreme Court precedent on abortion in the dead of night via an unsigned opinion.

After a fourth poll in the span of a couple weeks found the Supreme Court's job approval plummeting, it's becoming crystal clear that the nation's high court is suffering from a supreme loss of confidence among the American people. Gallup, which has been tracking the court's approval rating since 2000, found public approval of the Supreme Court took a precipitous tumble from 58% approval in 2020 to a 20-year low of 40% now.

The decision by the court's conservative majority to let a Texas abortion ban abruptly go into effect earlier this month resulted in chaos in the nation's second-largest state along with neighboring states as they absorb an influx of women seeking abortion care. But it also appears to have marked an inflection point for a court that now carries the stench of Sen. Mitch McConnell's politicization.

And everyone knows it. Over the last several weeks, three justices have pleaded their case publicly that the court isn't packed with a bunch of conservative political hacks but rather a group of people following their judicial philosophies. Conservative justices Clarence Thomas and Amy Coney Barrett along with liberal justice Stephen Breyer have all given that ridiculous defense of a court that was highjacked by McConnell and his Senate Republicans after they stole two seats in a row that should have been appointed by Democratic presidents.

The court's partisan leanings were on full display in August and September as the justices torpedoed President's Joe Biden's pandemic-related eviction moratorium, forced the reinstatement of the Trump-era "remain in Mexico" policy for asylum seekers, and took a hatchet to Roe v. Wade.

"Whatever people might have seen as moderation on the court over the past year was followed by these three rulings, right in a row and close together, that all took a conservative tilt," said Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School poll, told The Washington Post. The Marquette survey also found the court's approval rating plunging in recent polling.

As Irv Gornstein, executive director of the Georgetown Supreme Court Institute, told the Post, "It is all well and good for justices to tell the public that their decisions reflect their judicial philosophies, not their political affiliations ... If the right side's judicial philosophies always produce results favored by Republicans and the left side's judicial philosophies always produce results favored by Democrats, there is little chance of persuading the public there is a difference between the two."

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut agreed.

"I think these last few years have really been very dangerous and potentially devastating to the Supreme Court's credibility because the public is seeing the court as increasingly political, and the public is right," said Blumenthal, who served as a Supreme Court clerk to Justice Harry A. Blackmun. "The statements by Thomas, Barrett, Breyer, you know, give me a break ... they are just inherently noncredible."

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