56% Of Americans Hate The Supreme Court, Yearn For ‘Thunderdome Law’

  nation of haters

Welp, might as well try thisHere’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]

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About the author

Josh was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, leaving him with a love of chicken wings and a tendency to say “pop”. He taught ancient Greek and Roman history to undergraduates before fleeing from academia in terror; worked for a failed San Francisco dot-com that neglected to supply him with stock options or an Aeron chair; lived in Berlin, where he mostly ate Indian and Ethiopian food; finished in third place on his sole Jeopardy! appearance (the correct answer was “Golda Meir”); and was named 2007 Blogger of the Year by The Week, for obvious reasons. Josh is the creator/editor of COMICS CURMUDGEON (which you should read) and does geeky editing and writing about geeky things such as "the Java programming industry for JavaWorld." He lives in Baltimore with his wife Amber and his cat Hoagie.

View all articles by Josh Fruhlinger

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169 comments

    1. actor212

      Wait. You think Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito are the best our money can buy?

      Personally, we were ripped off. If I'm paying for a justice, I want her to have Pamela Anderson's boobs and the libertine attitude of Xaviera Hollander crossed with Robin Byrd!

      1. ThundercatHo

        Ha, ha, you are old, too. Xaviera Hollander's book taught my catholic, high school boyfriend and I about oral sex.

  1. PuckStopsHere

    Justice is blind. The Roberts Five are not. They just don't give a fuck. Of any kind.

    1. Negropolis

      She's blind because The Roberts Five blindfolded her and threw her in the closet.

  2. Barb

    Fun fact: When Dick Cheney had his last colonoscopy Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia fell out after the butt camera was removed.

      1. Barb

        I had a friend who emailed me a few nights ago and told me that he's getting the butt cam and he's afraid he could be genetically predisposed to colon cancer because his step father died from colon cancer.

        1. actor212

          I'll see that and raise: I'm going for my second one in 2012 because they keep finding polyps. None have been malignant but even benign ones can become malignant if they grow big enough.

          Wait….genetically disposed….stepfather????

          Um, I think you won the pot, dear.

          1. Barb

            I'm keeping some of my more colorful friends around so that when the Zombie apocalypse happens I can just trip them and make a clean getaway.

          1. ThundercatHo

            I always thought that song was fun. My husband, not so much. Maybe I'll play that next time he makes me listen to the Eagles.

          2. Doktor Zoom

            See, if you'd posted that at Breitbart, you'd have gotten a hundred Elizabeth Warren jokes by now.

            All of them depressing.

      2. Veritas78

        Although I was drugged out of my mind, I was fascinated by the colonoscope. My love-canal looked like an abandoned spur of the Red Line. Very architectural, with arches and handsome curves, remarkably clean.

        I did spot a missing Pez dispenser and that condom from the day disco died—good times!

  3. Baconzgood

    "33 precent believe that giving them limited terms would subject them to the same moronic political pressures.."

    I'm sorry, but did I miss a step on the "subject them to political pressures" front? *coughs-Antonin Scalia in hand*

  4. actor212

    1 in 330,000,000 would like to see Actor212 appointed Chief Justice and High Executioner of Conservatives.

    EDIT: Apparently, 2 4 or more in 330,000,000…

    Hey, I can get on ballots in a few states, at this rate!

    MY PLATFORM:

    - Support lower taxes? That's a spankin'. Especially if you're young and hawt, where I'll televise it around midnight on cable access.

    - Two words: Boncentration bamps

    - Sarah Palin will be permanently tied to a dunking chair and anytime she or any of her brood so much as open their mouths, APLOOSH! in she goes.

    1. C_R_Eature

      OK, I'll vote for you if you make Sarah Palin's chair with depleted Uranium and dunk it out over the Marianas Trench.

      1. actor212

        Gee, I dunno….I mean, that's deep oceanic pollution. Today is World Oceans Day, after all.

        And then there's the whole uranium thing.

        1. C_R_Eature

          It is! Thanks, a good point about ocean pollution. Adding to the nutrient web of the abyssal ocean might have unforeseen consequences. Although the Uranium is depleted it's still has trace radioactivity but it might be better entombed in the Deep than in armor-piercing tank shells.
          Well, there's always the Gate of Hell. That would be appropriate.

        1. C_R_Eature

          Thanks very much! It's nice to be appreciated for what can be considered an extreme disability in Normal Society.

          1. Isyaignert

            Common sense isn't a gift, it's a punishment because you have to deal with everyone else who doesn't have it.

          2. C_R_Eature

            Thanks. Being an inveterate News Junkie is punishment these days, too. I wish I had a healthier habit, like alcohol of Heroin, but there you have it.

    2. Biff

      - Sarah Palin will be permanently tied to a dunking chair and anytime she or any of her brood so much as open their mouths, APLOOSH! in she goes.

      I'll help sponsor the chair, but only if it's in Alaska. In the winter.

      1. northernbassist

        uhhh..if it's in Alaska in the winter, APLOOSH! becomes ACLUNK!

        Choose summer. You could dress her in high contrast colors, work her up so her CO2 output increases, then leave her by a bog and let the mosquitoes suck her dry–and I mean that in the worst possible, no-fun-at-all sorta way….

        1. Biff

          Keep the water just above freezing. Wouldn't take too many dunkings to produce the desired effect.

  5. SorosBot

    "that number was still about 50 percent in 2000."

    Hm, was there anything significant the Supreme Court did in 2000, something that proved they're nothing but a bunch of partisan hacks…

    1. actor212

      *thinking*

      Well, there was that decision that allows private citizens to levy fines on polluters…oh, wait! They upheld bans on nude dancing!

    2. Chick-Fil-Atheist™

      reinforced the "majority rules" rule. That's what I remember. Oh, and made Al Gore a film star.

  6. Fare la Volpe

    41 percent of respondents want the Supreme court to expunge the accursed Obamacare from our nation’s lawbooks forever

    Take my rights — please!

    1. Serolf_Divad

      I suspect that if you asked them they would say something like: "Repeal Obamacare! If you want to fix the system, just make health insurance more affordable!"

      And if you asked them how, in the absence of Obamacare, we were supposed to make health insurance more affordable, I suspect the reply you'd get would sound something like this: "Well, duh… make it cheaper!"

      And if you asked them how to make it cheaper, they'd probably be all: "Just lower the price, so people can afford it, Einstein! Do I gotta do all the work for you?"

      1. Biel_ze_Bubba

        All you have to do is lower the taxes on insurance company executives. Then free markets, yadda yadda, and costs will come down.

    2. James Michael Curley

      Is it just a coincidence that the same per cent believe that most ailments can be cured by a piping hot chicken soup enema?

        1. Doktor Zoom

          Well, don't want to sound like a dick or nothin', but, uh… it says on your chart that you're fucked up. Uh, you talk like a fag, and your shit's all re tar ded.

          DAMN THE FILTER!

  7. WABishop

    Over 65% of respondents wouldn't know the Supreme Court if it bit them on the ass. Consequently, the Supreme Court takes every opportunity to bite them on the ass.

  8. Steverino247

    I'm waiting for the paper to report that the chocolate ration has been increased to 25 grams per week.

  9. Goonemeritus

    When polled 22% of Americans say they enjoy shoving spare change up their left nostril.

    1. SayItWithWookies

      Oh — so that's where the Republicans got their healthcare savings plan idea from.

    2. scvirginia

      So the failing economy was designed to save us from ourselves? I knew it! I just KNEW it!

  10. GortRay

    The fab four fascists of the Supremes will continue to sell their souls to our plutocratic overlords for decades to come. These berobed hell-demons have more control over us than all the half-wit congressthings combined. All we can hope for is an outbreak of ebola in their underground sleep chambers.

  11. mavenmaven

    The human mind does not process statistics well, which is why bad deals like Las Vegas and lotteries, and the belief in "luck" are so prevalent.

    1. prommie

      Its also why people think drunk driving is the exact equivalent of murdering someone with a gun. Because driving when there is a 1 in 50,000 chance of killing someone is murder, but driving when there is a one in 150,000 chance, is responsible and moral.

  12. Opportunisticly_Joe

    “The recent survey did not have enough black and Hispanic respondents to make fine distinctions among racial and ethnic groups,” of course.

    Well, whatever, we can still assume that these numbers accurately describe the American people in full anyway, because white's the default, right?

  13. OneYieldRegular

    If they want happy customers, they need to rename it The Mega Court. Nobody shops at a place merely called "Supreme" anymore.

  14. JerkCade

    I only approve of them when they rule the way I want them to.

    Other times, total disapproval.

  15. prommie

    The Courts established themselves as completely illegitimate and an outlaw institution, trampling on our precious freedoms, in 1955, when they made us let the nigras in the schools, to ogle and eye-rape our precious little white princesses, and beat all our white boys at sports!

    1. Doktor Zoom

      Don't forget 1962, when they banished God from public schools. And within the next decade, America fell apart and has never been the same again.

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      I've gotten a few political survey calls on my cell phone over the last month or two. I always hang up.

  16. Serolf_Divad

    Um, let's face it: 56% of Americans probably yearn for a hangin' judge, like Roy Bean, who boasted of never having "executed a man who didn't deserve it, or wasn't Mexican or Indian."

    1. chicken_thief

      Cereally, now – the Supremes was the first "major" group I saw live. At the Indiana State Fair no less, in about 1967. When they were still "the Supremes". And they rocked!

      1. James Michael Curley

        Joe Walsh did an impromptu concert in Times Square yesterday. Did "Life's Been Good" and something about promoting a new album and it being the first since the early 1990's.

        1. actor212

          He's playing down in the Village and the Wall Street area. He's doing J&R Music this afternoon (12:30), I think he's playing the PC Richard Theater tonight.

          If I can scam tickets, I may go. I'll be in the area for a book signing anyway (not mine, moral support for ex-Mrs David Bowie)

          1. James Michael Curley

            What the hell is the PC Richard Theater and will it still be working two days after the warranty expires?I thought the set up for the Times Square presentation looked extremely professional, so I guess its going to be towed all over the city for the next few days.If somebody gives me tickets to a special box performance of the Stones or Dylan or Bruce, I may go.  Other than that, with the rapidly declining state of my hearing I am not paying money to hear a muddle of screaming and over amped rock any more.

        2. Isyaignert

          Joe fukkin' Walsh is one of the greats! He's coming to my town to perform while I'm out of town. Damnitdamnitdamnit!!!

    2. SayItWithWookies

      I've always thought The Temptations should be at the top of the judicial branch myself — but it was just my imagination.

  17. SoBeach

    Two-thirds of Americans approved of the Supreme Court’s decision-making as recently as the 1980s,

    And that's right about the time presidents started picking justices based on a magic formula of absolute ideological rigidity, skin tone, and junk.

  18. FlyOverGirl

    The American people can't be bothered to vote for President. I call bull shit that 44% of Americans are even aware that we have a Supreme Court.

  19. Mumbletypeg

    44 Percent of Americans Approve Supreme Court

    Well… given that's the same percentage of Americans polling in 1982 that Creationism pwns Evolution — a percentage unchanged in thirty years — all that this confirms is my satisfaction with drawing a compromise between the two views, devolution. And I look forward to when our future Justices in this land reach the level of bar their deteriority-complex'd fan base has set for them — when one day finally they'll utter their opinions/ dissentions in grunts and farts.

    1. C_R_Eature

      and look forward to when our future Justices utter their opinions/ dissentions in grunts and farts.

      Justice Thomas already does this. The Future is here.

  20. Tundra Grifter

    Speaking of the Supremes, last night I watched "Unprecedented; The 2000 Presidential Election." No wonder Jeb Bush doesn't want to run for Veep – the GNoP certainly doesn't want to open that can of worms!

    Excellent documentary, and it shows how many right wing nut lies are still out there about the Florida debacle.

    You can pick this up on Amazon for a few bucks – be sure you get the "2004" (updated) edition.

    Everyone should watch this NOW.

    1. James Michael Curley

      I saw the first version almost ten years ago. It was promoted as a fund raiser by a group led by Bob Fertik and David Lytel (the later set up the first White House web site in 1995) which preserves most of the stuff they have published since January 2000 at <a href="http://www.democrats.com” target=”_blank”>www.democrats.com. David Lytel created http://redefeatbush.com/ and has preserved much of the posts regarding the disputed election information with a lot from Florida newspapers.

      For any other reason than seeing what 1995 to 2000 web design looked like, its worth the trip. Through them a saw buck which will fund their server costs for months since this stuff is disappearing at an alarming rate, not just from the internet in general but from 12 year old newspapers as it disappears behind pay walls and the relentless assault of independent ownership of the print media. Also, guess who I am as you look at a few articles (I really don't know if they are still up) Scratch that, looks like little of the old stuff is left.

  21. Mittens Howell, III

    56% hate the Supreme Court. So, we need 4% more to beat a filibuster, or $958,586,978,623,000 to win a recall election, or something, right?

  22. actor212

    We've all heard the famous Al Franken citation of a poll that said that 19% of Americans believe they are in the 1% of wealthiest Americans, right?

    Sounds apocryphal, until you read this survey.

    It's a FOX affiliate quoting a Gallup poll, so lemme pull the relevant quote:

    Asked about the likelihood that they themselves will become rich, Americans surveyed seemed to be slightly less optimistic than they were in 1990. Twenty-eight percent said it is at least somewhat likely they'll become rich, down from a peak of 34 percent in 1996.

    So not only are one in five delusional, three out of ten are fucking insane.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      See also this Brookings Institution editorial from 2003, before the term "the 1%" had the currency it gained last year:

      Ultimately what drives these attitudes is ignorance about how others actually live, a gulf between the haves and the have-nots in American society that seems to widen every year. It is not only ignorance on the part of the haves, however, that keeps this system in place. A surprising number of have-nots expect that they, or at least their children, will eventually be attending parties just like this one. An October 2000 Time-CNN news poll showed that 19 percent of Americans thought that they were in the high income group that would benefit from proposed tax cuts – defined as roughly the top 1 percent of the distribution.

      The piece closes with this thought:

      Antonia Fraser's biography of Marie Antoinette suggests that she was not the nasty person of popular imagination, but was quite generous and warm-hearted (if rather naive). What ultimately did her in was simple ignorance about how others live.

  23. Come here a minute

    What are crosstabs? I'm pretty sure it has something to do with stabbing — like I want to crosstab myself in the brain when I see how frickin stupid some people are.

  24. prommie

    GOP runs a campaign of discrediting government institutions for 57 years, there is no reason to be surprised that 56% of people believe that institution is discredited, hell, they only had to convince 1% a year.

    1. didgen

      I personally like box jellyfish for their swim mates, but I'm scared to imagine what's under the robes. Today's cephalopod are some lovely squid larvae apparently performing a square dance. Go PZ!

  25. AncienReggie

    I wish Roberts and Alito were old. In their cases, being merely cantankerous offers me no straws to clutch.

  26. prommie

    Hey you know, fuck all, it was December of 2000 when it suddenly hit me hard that the Supreme Court is just fucking bullshit, and the whole system is rotten from the top, and technically I have not practiced law a day since, certainly haven't set foot in a fucking courtroom. Maybe its fucking good that half the people also believe that the Supreme Court is fucking bullshit.

    1. James Michael Curley

      How many 'no longer practicing law' people are here. Is this where old idealists who become cynics go to die? I'm not dying that way! I'm working up to becoming a 'sometimes' paid advocate for veterans.

      Strike one! Veterans benefits are not 'entitlements' you Boehner/Cantor/Ryan self centered greedy fucks. They are the dues we owe these men and women for the life they invested in our being able to sit back and watch Vietnam, the Gulf War, Mogadeshu, Afghanistan and Iraq on TV.

      Strike two! In the past three years, since Republicans have bottled up the budget process, at least the president could 'sequester' for future use the funding increases for our military salaries and veterans health care that weren't getting spent under the budget. Now they eliminated that and the money is going into the fiction that Ryan created a 'balanced' budget with a 'declining debt burden'. Money needed for artificial arms and legs is now likely to go to preserving 11 1/2 years of tax breaks for the rich.

      Hey Mitt, you miserable money grubbing bastard, if your taxes go up by $5,000,000 as proposed by the Obama Job Creation Act, that $5mill will buy an artificial leg or arm for over 2,500 veterans and support them with training to find a job with their missing body parts.

    1. SorosBot

      Wapner? That reference is like, 20 years out of date, old man; try Judge Judy or someone else who not just olds like me could actually remember.

      1. Mumbletypeg

        It is uncanny how well I remember People's Court, watching it after school; like yesterday. You may even be underestimating how long ago it was in its prime, Soros. Not to my knowledge had seen anything similar in precedent at that time. Doug Llewellyn, we thought his face was funny (back then you didn't need to be soooo photogenic even for just a bit role like his). Rusty the bailiff, with his understated presence but grew into a sort of camaraderie w/ the judge. Cranky Judge Joe Wapner (we always said his first & last name together). The whole gratification of watching someone get their due, taken to task, put in their place. Unscripted, also. But, regrettably, I suppose, set the pace for what'd become known as reality-tv.

        1. SorosBot

          Originally I was going to say 25 years, but looked it up and apparently it stayed on the air until 1993; it's still was a long, long time ago.

        2. not that Radio

          You may even be underestimating how long ago it was…

          Agreed. Rainman was 1988, by which time Wapner was already an institution, or else the gag wouldn't have worked.

          But, wait. Wapner is an out-of-date reference in a post subtitled Thunderdome?

      2. not that Radio

        96% of Americans who respond to Pew polls are elderly people with landlines who think that out-of-date Rainman and Judge Wapner references are a little too cutting-edge for their tastes.

    2. Negropolis

      Coincidentally, 56% of Americans were furious as hell to find that some mean, old broad named "Judge Judy" took his spot.

      BTW, I like the fast-talking hispanic woman that took his place.

  27. JackDempsey1

    Improving poll numbers is all about slicing and dicing the demographics.
    For example, to pick up a few percentage points from Hispanics
    1. more Sotomayer cleavage.
    2. drop the Latin pretentions—–make Spanish the language of law *and* love.

  28. C_R_Eature

    According to the NRCC's web survey, a whopping 98% of 18 to 35 year-olds want the next Supreme Court Justice to be Weedlord Bonerhitler.

  29. pinkocommi

    Let me get this straight… The 56% percent of Americans that disapprove of the Supreme Court are the same people who can't name a single Supreme Court justice, right?

  30. SayItWithWookies

    Hey why all the dislike? If it weren't for the infinite wisdom of the Supreme Court, not only would 9/11 never have happened, but Joe Lieberman would've been VP — which means we'd've never heard from him after 2000.

    And wow, I'm getting mad just thinking about that.

  31. hagajim

    "neutral arbiter of our fundamental laws"

    That might be the funniest line since Martin and Lewis….Hah!

  32. James Michael Curley

    When the going gets tough, we should always ask; what would Tome Leher say?

    Who needs a hobby like tennis or philately?
    I’ve got a hobby: rereading Lady Chatterley.
    But now they’re trying to take it all
    Away from us unless
    We take a stand, and hand in hand
    We fight for freedom of the press.
    In other words,

    Smut! (I love it)
    Ah, the adventures of a slut.
    Oh, I’m a market they can’t glut,
    I don’t know what
    Compares with smut.

    Hip hip hooray!
    Let’s hear it for the supreme court!
    Don’t let them take it away!

  33. rickmaci

    Let's look at this for a second. There are usually two sides to a legal case, right? One side wins, one loses. That means 1/2 of the people ought to be satisfied with the outcome in every case. If only 44% of Americans have a good feeling about the Court, that suggests that even the side that WINS doesn't like the way it was handled. Ponder on that one. Sort of make you feel all Henry VI about the legal system.

  34. C_R_Eature

    Don't worry, all the Pacific Herring we've tied to the suits won't let you see anything.

      1. C_R_Eature

        My pleasure. There's no need to let disturbing sights spoil the nice view of nasty people being eaten by giant squids.

  35. McPdx

    Thank you, thank you for posting that picture from one of my favorite Arrested Development episodes…

    Bailiff: All rise for acting's highest honor, Judge Reinhold. (aside) Judge Reinhold neither a real judge, nor has he received acting's highest honor. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaK_FgrIlYY

  36. Negropolis

    “The recent survey did not have enough black and Hispanic respondents to make fine distinctions among racial and ethnic groups,” of course.

    So, this poll was done entirely within the confines of Celebration, Florida?

  37. mwittier

    Maybe they thought it was yelp asking, and that it was about the Supreme Court Motor Lodge.

    "the towels were thin and scratchy."
    "the mini bar did not have Pepsi products."
    "the ice machine was broken and the guy at the desk was Mexican."
    "I had already seen all the porn. COME ON!"
    "magic fingers was broken, there was no bible and there was not enough shampoo bottles."

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