Meant to stand apart

Supreme Court doing miserably in the polls -- but does it matter?

We see that the U.S. Supreme Court is polling as poorly as it ever has among American voters.

Rasmussen Reports polling firm says only 28 percent of Americans think the high court is doing a good or excellent job, while 30 percent rate its performance as poor.

It’s the highest-ever “poor” rating, and the first time the court’s disapproval rating has eclipsed the rate of approval.

We’re all free to have our opinions on the court’s performance – and with the recent gay marriage, Voting Rights Act and affirmative action rulings, there’s something there for everyone to disagree with.

Fact is, this page bitterly disagreed with the previous high court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London, a narrow 5-4 decision in 2005 that said governments can condemn your property and seize it if they have another private entity that can do more with it, in their eyes.

It was a horrible, despicable, rotten, scum-dwelling decision that eroded property rights for all Americans. And, in a bit of poetic justice, the land that was seized by the city of New London was never redeveloped; the plans fell through.

On the other hand, the high court more recently stood up for property rights in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management, another 5-4 decision that rebuked Florida officials for unreasonable demands put on a property owner.

The high court giveth and the high court taketh away.

But as far as public polls go, the court doesn’t care about its popularity much, we don’t care, and neither should you.

That’s because it’s critical, under our system of self-governance, that the courts be answerable primarily to the rule of law, not to political whim or election-driven politics.

That, by definition, means angering a good portion of the electorate from time to time. Thank goodness the Supreme Court doesn’t rule based on the winds of public opinion.

Or at least it shouldn’t. We have noticed that some justices go where the law leads them, while others seem to be led by a political ideology which they never stray from.

Be that as it may, we understand that in today’s society, we measure almost everything and almost everyone’s opinion about almost everything. But the popularity of the U.S. Supreme Court isn’t one measurement that means very much.

The judicial branch was meant to stand apart.

The best thing we can do is to elect presidents and Senates that pick the best possible judges and justices.

You can look at the rulings and decide for yourself whether you think that’s happening. If it’s not, it’s not the court’s fault.

For that, you can look at the low approval ratings for Congress and the president.

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