******************** ***************** Interview a friend, family member, co-worker, or someone else who is unaffiliated with the political science discipline. Ask them the following questions: * is your opinion of the

******************** ***************** Interview a friend, family member, co-worker, or someone else who is unaffiliated with the political science discipline. Ask them the following questions: * is your opinion of the Supreme Court? shaped this perception? *How well do you think Supreme Court justices do their job? To what extent do partisan politics influence their rulings? Summarize this person’s comments and reflect on them. Do you think this person’s opinion reflects that of the majority of Americans? Why or why not? Of all three branches of government, the Supreme Court has a reputation for being insulated from or resistant to party pressures and swings of public opinion. Do you see this reputation eroding today? If so, what impact does that have on American politics and how might citizen’s faith in the Court be restored? *Note: Reaction posts should be approximately 2-5 paragraphs in length. Responses to other students do not have a length requirement but serve as your participation grade (i.e., the more thorough the better). ************************ Student Response #1 *************************** I thought this was an interesting exercise, so I decided to ask a few people to get a better idea of the ‘average’ viewpoint. I asked a coworker, a friend, and a family member. Both the friend and family member said they have relatively average grasp on politics and are familiar with the duties of the Supreme Court. The coworker also said they understand the duties of the Court, but said they follow politics frequently (this person did not major in political science in college). 1. Friend: said they understood the necessity of the Supreme Court as it relates to our government. Family: said they trust the SC to make good judgments. Coworker: said the SC receives too much focus and attention. 2. Friend: said the news and news articles. Family: said from parents and school civics courses. Coworker: said reading, research, and other viewpoints. 3. Friend, Family, and Coworker all said that the SC generally does their job well. 4. Friend: said partisan politics should not affect Court decisions but does recognize that the influence does occur. Family: said partisan politics does influence decisions, around half of them. Coworker: said rulings can be attributed to perceived party affiliations, and then gave an example of Justice Scalia being known for conservatism and Justice Ginsburg being known for liberalism. I think the answers I was given do reflect the general opinion on the Supreme court. It seems that people are familiar with the role of the Supreme Court but are not well versed in the extensive details. They perceive the justices as performing their job well and making good decisions. They also acknowledge the influence partisanship and political forces have on this branch of government. In regards to the erosion of a reputation of impartiality, I don’t believe it is something the Court hasn’t experienced before. The American public, from what I have read and also based on the mini questionnaire from this discussion, has substantial trust in the Court because of the impartiality factor. Therefore, whenever a decision smells like partisanship, it is immediately met with scrutiny. People expect the justices to hold themselves as unbiased. However, methods of constitutional interpretation differ among justices and those ideologies come from educational and life experiences. Their application of living constitutionalism or originalism has been noticed since the early days of the court. I haven’t seen anything that suggests the bench is largely more partisan now than it was in the 80’s, the 50’s, or the 1860’s. I do think things like the disgraceful behavior during the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh encourages the public to erroneously believe that the Court is a bench full of partisan loyalists that adhere to the agenda of the president that nominated them. The restoration of faith in the Court is reliant upon the public’s agreement with the decisions made. Either the court faces a case that establishes landmark precedent and society applauds it, or the court issues rulings on cases that align with the party of the president that nominated the justices. People will approve of the court at a higher rating if it produces decisions in accordance with their political beliefs. ************************ Student Response #2 *************************** I chose to call my mom and interview her, given she has a background in political science and international affairs. Her opinion of the Supreme Court was mostly impartial and fair. This perception, she said, came from the fact that the Supreme Court is supposed to work based off of the constitution and not impart any party biases into their decisions. While different political partied presidents have appointed judges that they believe express their best interest, my mother found that they still were fair in their decisions and worked based off of the constitution. I think this opinion from my mother is one that is held among the majority of Americans, especially ones with higher education backgrounds. Knowing that the Supreme Court decides on constitutionality rather than party platforms is a key part of knowing how the Supreme Court is supposed to operate, something that my mom reiterated a number of times. When I asked my mom about how well she believes the justices do their job, she said that they are typically firm but fair in their decisions. She believes that they adhere to their guidelines of deciding constitutionality of cases rather than impart party biases and ideas into their decisions. This is something that I also believe most Americans hold to be true in regard to the Supreme Court and the inner workings of it. I do not see the reputation of the Supreme Court being insulated from party pressures being eroded. Cases that come through now are modern issues such as gay marriage and immigration, and while there are always party supporters who will not be happy with a decision on one side or the other, the Supreme Court is very good at determining whether laws stand or should be refuted based on how closely they adhere to the constitution and its amendments. New amendments can sometimes arise from these decisions, allowing for the Supreme Court to have a bigger hand in decision making.

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