Americans support the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett and oppose the “court-packing” proposal by Democrats to increase the size of the high court, according to new surveys.
A majority of likely voters – 58 percent – say they oppose the proposal to “increase the size of the Supreme Court to include more than nine justices” if Barrett is confirmed and Joe Biden wins the White House, according to a New York Times/Siena survey conducted Oct. 15-18, after Barrett’s hearings before the U.S. Senate. Less than one-third (31 percent) support the concept.
Opposition to court-packing (a term not used in the poll) comes from 89 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of independents/others, according to the poll. More than one-fourth (28 percent) of Democrats oppose adding seats to the Supreme Court.
Biden, the Democratic nominee, said during a town hall last week he was “open” to the concept and would announce his position on court-packing prior to the election, assuming Barrett is confirmed. Some Democrats and liberal pundits have proposed court-packing as a way to counter the influence of Barrett, a conservative who would replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a member of the liberal bloc.
Americans also support Barrett’s confirmation, according to the NYT/Siena survey and a new Gallup poll. Likely voters, by a slim plurality (44-42 percent), support her nomination according to the NYT/Siena poll, although a more comfortable plurality (47-39 percent) say the Senate should vote on her confirmation prior to Election Day instead of waiting, as some Democrats have proposed.
The Gallup poll of 1,035 U.S. adults showed Americans favoring Barrett’s confirmation, 51-46 percent. Unlike the NYT/Siena poll, the Gallup survey included answers prior to and during Barrett’s Senate hearing. It was conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 15. The Senate hearing took place Oct. 12-14.
Support for Barrett’s confirmation in the Gallup poll was higher than that of Brett Kavanaugh (41 percent) and Neil Gorsuch (45 percent), President Trump’s two other Supreme Court nominees.
The NYT/Siena poll involved interviews with 987 likely voters.
Photo courtesy: Bill Mason/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.