AIN Update

A recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that 71 percent
of young Americans, ages 18 to 34, believe that the Supreme Court is
“mainly motivated by politics.” According to the same poll, only 25 percent of
young Americans believe the Court is “mainly motivated by the law.”

The perception of the Supreme Court as a politically motivated
body is a threat to America’s democratic and institutional norms. From an
institutional perspective, the Court’s validity is rooted in its respect for
the law and its ability to reach principled decisions. If that validity comes into
question, the legitimacy of the Court and its decisions will also be
questioned, propelling the nation into an unprecedented crisis. This potential
legitimacy crisis may also tempt the political branches to alter the federal
courts in a way that is seen as politically favorable, further eroding the
public’s faith in the judiciary’s independence. 

The Supreme Court’s legitimacy as an independent body of law must
be reaffirmed. Presidential candidates, the news media and other public voices should
ensure that the narrative surrounding the work of the Court is verified and
based in fact rather than political messaging. All individuals in America’s
public sphere must avoid the temptation to appease political frustrations by
degrading democratic institutions.

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