A Public Policy Polling (PPP) national survey conducted from June 11th to June 14th 2015, found that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is America’s favorite Supreme Court Justice and Clarence Thomas is the nation’s least favorite justice. The poll of 1,129 U.S. voters found that when asked who their favorite justice was, 19 percent of voters chose Ruth Bader Ginsburg as their top choice. Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas were tied for second with 11 percent of voters selecting each of them as their favorite justice.
When asked who their least favorite justice was, Thomas was the top choice of 18 percent of voters, followed by Ginsburg at 12 percent and Antonin Scalia at 10 percent. The fact that Thomas and Ginsburg were among the top three most liked and most disliked justices is evidence that they are the two justices most closely identified with the polar extremes on the court, with Ginsburg representing the left wing of the court, while Thomas is viewed as the farthest right-wing justice on the court.
Overall, the public has a slightly negative view of the Supreme Court, with 35 percent holding a favorable opinion of the court compared to 41 percent who have an unfavorable view of the court. Individual justices fare a bit better. Six of the nine justices have a net favorable rating.
Justices Scalia, Thomas and Roberts are the three justices who do not have positive favorable ratings. Justice John Roberts has a negative 18 to 27 favorable to unfavorable ratio. Justice Antonin Scalia is viewed favorably by 27 percent of American voters compared to 29 percent who view him unfavorably. The polarizing Clarence Thomas has a neutral 32 to 32 favorable versus unfavorable rating.
The popularity of each justice predictably falls along partisan lines with Democrats holding favorable views of Clinton and Obama appointees, while GOP voters prefer Republican appointed justices. However, Independents, like Democrats, also regard Ruth Bader Ginsburg as their favorite Supreme Court Justice and Clarence Thomas as their least favorite justice. The view of Independents suggests that middle of the road Americans recognize that Clarence Thomas is the most ideologically extreme member of the court, and that he is less trustworthy than the most liberal justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.