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Alito Pushes Back After Justice Kagan Warns Supreme Court’s Legitimacy Has Suffered

HeadlineSep 30, 2022

A new poll finds public trust in the U.S. Supreme Court at a historic low. Less than half of U.S. adults polled by Gallup report they have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the Supreme Court. That’s a 20-percentage-point drop from two years ago. This comes amid fractures between the Supreme Court’s conservative majority and liberal justices over whether the court’s legitimacy has been damaged by recent rulings overturning decades of precedent. Justice Elena Kagan has repeatedly spoken out over the issue during the court’s summer recess. Here she is speaking at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law on September 14.

Justice Elena Kagan: “When we’re talking about legitimacy of the court, it prevents people from thinking that it’s all about politics. I mean, if a new judge comes in, if there’s new members of a court, and all of a sudden everything is up for grabs, all of a sudden very fundamental principles of law are being overthrown, are being, you know, replaced, then people have a right to say, like, you know, ’What’s going on there? That doesn’t seem very law-like.’”

Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the Dobbs decision in June allowing states to once again ban abortions, told The Wall Street Journal this week, “[S]aying or implying that the court is becoming an illegitimate institution or questioning our integrity crosses an important line.” Chief Justice John Roberts has also criticized Justice Kagan’s remarks.

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