Majority disapprove of Trump Supreme Court nominations, says poll

A majority of Americans disapprove of President TrumpDonald John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE’s appointments to the Supreme Court and have little or no confidence that he would pick a suitable candidate to fill any potential future vacancies, according to a new poll from the Marquette University Law School.


The survey found that 57 percent of U.S. adults polled somewhat or strongly disapprove of the way Trump has handled filling vacancies on the nation’s top court. Forty-three percent said they somewhat or strongly approve of the president’s approach, a figure that is slightly higher than Trump’s overall approval rating of 40 percent in the poll.

Fifty-six percent said they have little or no confidence that Trump would “select the right kind of person to sit on the Supreme Court” if another vacancy were to open up. Thirty-two percent said they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence, and another 13 percent said they have some confidence.

Unsurprisingly, Trump’s record of Supreme Court appointments polls higher among Republicans, with 89 percent of respondents who identify with the GOP saying they strongly or somewhat approve of his approach to filling the court. Eighty percent of respondents who identified as Republican-leaning said the same.

The poll also found widespread disapproval with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate GOP eyes Oct. 26 for confirming Barrett to Supreme Court GOP noncommittal about vote on potential Trump-Pelosi coronavirus deal Overnight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas MORE's (R-Ky.) refusal to consider Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandSenate Republicans offer constitutional amendment to block Supreme Court packing This week: Clock ticks on chance for coronavirus deal Push to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw MORE, former President Obama's nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia after his death in early 2016. Seventy-three percent said McConnell's decision not to hold any confirmation hearings for Garland was the wrong thing to do, while 27 percent said it was the right thing to do.

McConnell argued at the time that it would be improper to hold confirmation hearings just before a presidential election. But if a vacancy opens up in 2020 ahead of the next election and Trump puts forth a nominee, 69 percent of the poll's respondents said that the Senate should hold hearings, while 31 said it shouldn't.

Trump later filled Scalia's seat with Justice Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchSupreme Court denies GOP bid to block extended mail ballot due date in Pennsylvania Judge Barrett's hearing: Democratic senators left holding an empty sack The politics of originalism MORE, who was confirmed in 2017.

The poll also shows that the partisan battle over Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSupreme Court denies GOP bid to block extended mail ballot due date in Pennsylvania Biden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big Major abortion rights group calls for Democrats to replace Feinstein on Judiciary Committee MORE’s confirmation last year has had a lasting impact on the public’s perception of the court and Kavanaugh in particular.

Despite being the most junior member of the court, Kavanaugh, who was confirmed in a narrow 50-48 Senate vote last year after being bombarded with accusations of sexual assault, is now only second to Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgSenate GOP eyes Oct. 26 for confirming Barrett to Supreme Court GOP blocks Schumer effort to adjourn Senate until after election Overnight Defense: Supreme Court to hear case on diversion of Pentagon funds to border wall | Biden campaign cutting retired general from ad after objection | Trump's arms control talks with Russia hit wall MORE in terms of public awareness. Just 42 percent were unable to rate Kavanaugh in terms of favorability, compared to 41 percent for Ginsburg.

He also has the highest unfavorability rating of the nine justices, with 32 percent. Twenty-six percent said they viewed him favorably.

Kavanaugh is one of two justices, along with Gorsuch, that Trump has nominated and seen confirmed to the court.

The survey was conducted Sept. 3-13 and is based on answers from 1,423 adults nationwide. It has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.

Updated at 1:04 p.m.