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A Non-Judge for the Supreme Court? Most Americans Say 'No'

5 years ago
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United States Supreme CourtWhile a number of leading lawmakers have urged President Obama to consider a candidate for the Supreme Court who has relevant experience beyond just being a judge, an overwhelming number of Americans say the choice should be someone with a judicial background, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted April 22-25.

Seventy percent said judicial credentials should be a factor in the decision with 52 percent saying it should be a "strong" factor. Only 24 percent said it should not be a factor. No other potential factors came close.

Thirty-five percent favored someone with experience outside the legal profession such as in business or politics. The only other factors that made it into double digits were being a woman (15 percent) or being African-American (16 percent).

Sixty-five percent said they were very or somewhat comfortable with Obama selecting the next justice compared to 33 percent who were not.

Although many Democrats have asserted that the court under Chief Justice John Roberts has pursued an activist agenda, 46 percent said the court had been balanced in its opinion, 26 percent regarded it as liberal and 21 percent as conservative. Seven percent were undecided.

A Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll conducted April 20-21 also found that 46 percent that the the court, ideologically, was "about right."

A Pew Research Center poll conducted April 21-26 found that 36 percent regarded the court as middle-of-the-road, while 24 percent each said it was liberal or conservative, with 16 percent undecided. Thirty-four percent of Democrats described it as conservative while 32 percent said it was middle of the road. Republicans and independents found the court "middle of the road"by bigger margins.

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