First nationwide Marquette Law School Poll released

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The first-ever national Marquette Law School Poll -- which examines public views of the U.S. Supreme Court -- was released Monday.

The poll shows nationwide confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court, and majority support for both liberal and conservative decisions.

According to a press release from Marquette University, the new poll says the overall confidence in the Supreme Court is more pronounced among conservatives. There is broad support for the Court as a whole, but political conservatives are more favorable to the current make-up and decisions on the Court than liberals are.

Majorities support some decisions or potential decisions involving abortion, gay rights, and banning semi-automatic rifles that are generally labeled liberal, according to the release. At the same time, majorities favor some decisions on the Court that are generally considered conservative, including a right to possess firearms and allowance of public funds to support students in religious schools.

A majority of those polled said they want decisions to be nonpartisan and to be generally "fair." Fifty-seven percent also said they support the Court's "evolving" interpretations of the U.S. Constitution rather than interpretations based solely on the intent of the Constitution's framers.

Confirmation of nominees based on political factors

The confirmation of nominees based on political affiliation and expected decisions is also a debated issue.

"The confirmation of nominees to both the Supreme Court and lower federal courts has grown far more contentious over the past several decades," the release said. "During this period, opposition based on expected policy differences and based on partisanship, which once was rare, has become common."

The majority of the public said expected policy differences and partisanship are not justifications for rejecting a nominee.

Of those polled, 62 percent said it is not justified to reject a nominee based on policy differences, and 81 percent said it is not justified to reject a nominee based on political party.

Approval of the president

When asked how much they approve or disapprove of the way President Donald Trump is "handling his job as president," 20 percent of respondents said they strongly approve, 20 percent said they somewhat approve, 46 percent said they strongly disapprove and 14 percent said they somewhat disapprove.

When asked about how much they approve of Trump's handling of Supreme Court appointments, 43 percent approve and 57 percent disapprove.

Changing the Court's makeup

The survey found that 71% of respondents favor fixed terms for justices. But 56% oppose increasing the number of justices on the court. Both ideas have been offered as ways to address increasing polarization over the court's makeup.

The poll also found 64% of respondents said they believe the law, rather than politics, mostly motivates the justices' decisions.

The survey was conducted Sept. 3-13, 2019, interviewing 1,423 adults nationwide, with a margin of error of +/-3.6 percentage points.

Click Here for a more detailed analysis of the survey findings.

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