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Friday, March 18, 2016

What America Thinks: Ideological Business As Usual on the Supreme Court?

President Obama announced on Wednesday his nomination of federal appellate Judge Merrick Garland to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. The president called Garland a “centrist,” but conservatives and most Republicans quickly disagreed. A New York Times analysis of Garland's record places him to the right of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor but to the left of Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer, all of whom are generally regarded as judicial liberals.

Voters in surveys for years have been more likely to describe the high court as too liberal rather than as too conservative. Scalia was the court's strongest judicial conservative, so any newcomer nominated by the president isn't likely to change that overall perception.

One-in-three voters (33%) now believe the court is ideologically too far to the left, while 24% think it tacks too far to the right. Just one-third (33%) describe the Supreme Court's overall ideology as about right.