Here’s a Internet fun thing you can do, for certain limited definitions of fun, if you spend all your time on the Internet: subscribe to the New York Times RSS feeds and watch how their headlines change over time! So for instance this article started with “44 Percent of Americans Approve of Supreme Court in New Poll,” which sounds neutral-to-good; it’s literally triple the number who approve of Congress, though it’s a few percentage points behind our hated President. But as of this writing it says “Approval Rating for Justices Hits Just 44% in New Poll,” and when you think about that, hmm, maybe that does seem pretty low, considering the Supreme Court is supposed to be neutral arbiter of our fundamental laws and all. By the time you read this the headline will have probably changed to “BURN THE HATED BLACK-ROBED DICTATORS” and the streets will be awash with blood.
Let’s run through the cross-tabs of this exciting poll! Ha ha, we have no idea what that means, we just know Nate Silver says it sometimes. But let’s look at the individual bits of data that the Times reports anyway.
- 44 percent of respondents approved of the way the Court does its job, 36 percent disapproved, and 20 percent looked off into the distance and whistled through their teeth a little.
- 60 percent of respondents thinks that allowing these cantankerous old people to stay on the court as long as they can draw breath makes them into crazed unaccountable monsters. 33 precent believe that giving them limited terms would subject them to the same moronic political pressures that have ruined every other aspect of American public life.
- 41 percent of respondents want the Supreme court to expunge the accursed Obamacare from our nation’s lawbooks forever, 27 percent just want the individual mandate (which is what will make the whole thing work) struck down, and 24 percent want the whole thing to stay in place to torment us. In a continuing trend, these numbers do not add up to 100.
- When asked about the controversial Arizona immigration law that the Court will be considering soon, 11 percent of respondents think that states alone should be in charge of immigration law, which, no seriously, come on.
- “The recent survey did not have enough black and Hispanic respondents to make fine distinctions among racial and ethnic groups,” of course.
Two-thirds of Americans approved of the Supreme Court’s decision-making as recently as the 1980s, and that number was still about 50 percent in 2000. At this rate of decline, by 2025 there will be only eight people in America who still harbor vaguely warm feelings towards the institution. (Scalia will be among the haters, because he is cranky.) [NYT]