The following is an excerpt from an opinion editorial by Juan Williams that appears in today’s The Hill.
A Pew poll from last week found that 21 percent of Americans have a less favorable view of the Court after oral arguments in the healthcare case. Only 7 percent report a more favorable view. . .
According to polls, the overall level of public respect for the court is fading fast as it becomes just another venue for the polarized tug of war between liberals and conservatives. A January 2012 poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 75 percent of Americans believe Supreme Court justices let their own ideological views influence their decisions while only 17 percent think the justices decide cases based on legal analysis. The Gallup poll finds that public trust in the high court has declined from 50 percent 10 years ago to 37 percent today.
Starting with its unprecedented decision in Bush v. Gore — where the Court effectively decided a presidential election in favor of Republican George W. Bush — and followed by the Citizens United case opening the door to big money dominating campaigns, the Court is increasingly seen as just another manifestation of the right-left polarization that characterizes American politics in the 21st century. The image of the justices rising above politics is close to a historical artifact.
The reason is clear: The frequency of 5-4 decisions on hot-button political issues in recent years has caused many people to believe that justice is not blind to politics or the influence of money. . . .