National Poll on SCOTUS Ethics

A new nationwide survey of 1,208 registered voters, fielded from April 28th through May 2nd, shows that a convincing majority of Americans believe that Justice Clarence Thomas should resign as a result of accepting lavish gifts from billionaire Harlan Crow, with 56% saying he should resign – including 60% of independent voters and 16% of Republicans along with 91% of Democrats. 

Overwhelming bipartisan majorities of voters also support broader Supreme Court reform. By an 81-9 margin, voters support an ethics code for the Court, with 69% of Republican voters and 74% of independents joining the 94% of Democrats who want an ethics code.

And by a 40-point margin, voters favor term limits for Justices: 66% support, with support exceeding opposition among Democrats, independents, and Republicans.

Justice Thomas’s scandals are not the only ones concerning voters. Overall, 62% of voters say that they are concerned that Chief Justice Roberts’s wife earned millions of dollars placing lawyers at law firms, some of which had business before the Court, in the wake of his confirmation in 2005. This 62% is similar to the 60% who had concerns about the revelations about Thomas.

The scandals have damaged the Court’s reputation substantially. Nearly 6 in 10 voters say they have very little or no confidence in the Court. And each of the Court’s six conservative Justices is viewed negatively by significantly more voters than view them positively – the only Justices with net positive favorability ratings are Sonia Sotomayor, Ketanji Brown Jackson, and Elena Kagan.