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Now, even the Supreme Court feels public wrath

August 19, 2007 |  2:48 am

It's vacation time across America (except for political bloggers), a time when we're all supposed to shed our daily cares and relax and enjoy the summer sun before school restarts that numbing old routine.

So why are polls showing Americans so crabby? Especially toward all things Washington; they're even on vacation there too, although because Congress doesn't want to be compared to the vacationing Iraqi Parliament, the Americans call their time off a "recess." Yeah, right. Either way, it's a month not working.

But now somebody thought to ask Americans how they feel about the hallowed Supreme Court.

Not as good as they used to feel about it, it turns out.

According to National Journal figures, the top court rose in public approval from 44% in May 2005 to 58% last spring. But a new poll by Quinnipiac University finds the judicial body has dropped 13 percentage points to a 45% approval rating while its disapproval rating has risen 10 percentage points to 37%.

The explanation, like so much of everything else that's wrong these days, seems to lie in...

partisan politics. Opinions of the Supreme Court now correspond to political party preference. Fully 65% of Republicans think those guys and gal are doing a swell job, while only 35% of Democrats agree. Fifty-four percent of Republicans think the court's ideological balance is "about right," while about 50% of Democrats find it too conservative.

It's funny too because poll respondents seemed to approve of several recent Court decisions.

The good news for the justices, who are all vacationing now too, by the way, is that the Supreme Court is the least unpopular part of the federal government. Even President Bush's popularity has climbed partway up the cellar stairs to the mid-30s approval level.

While those partisan clowns in Congress hold the lowest rating. One in four Americans approves of their "work," down from April's four out of  ten. A whopping 72% disapprove of Congress right now.

And all this is before we get down to next month's hardball negotiating between the Democratic Congress and the Republican White House on the new federal budget and those dozen appropriations bills.

--Andrew Malcolm