Justice Elena Kagan on Monday warned that the Supreme Court could lose legitimacy by overturning existing precedent, CBS News reports.
Kagan spoke at an event in New York less than three months after the court overturned its Roe v. Wade precedent, effectively voiding federal abortion protections.
"Judges create legitimacy problems for themselves ... when they instead stray into places where it looks like they're an extension of the political process or when they're imposing their own personal preferences," Kagan said.
She added that the public has the right to expect "that changes in personnel don't send the entire legal system up for grabs."
Break from Roberts:
The comments came shortly after Chief Justice John Roberts defended the court’s legitimacy against critics.
“If the court doesn’t retain its legitimate function of interpreting the constitution, I’m not sure who would take up that mantle. You don’t want the political branches telling you what the law is, and you don’t want public opinion to be the guide about what the appropriate decision is,” Roberts said on Friday.
Supreme Court more unpopular than ever:
The court’s approval rating is at its lowest since Pew Research Center began polling the question 25 years ago.
Republicans are about 45% more likely to support the court than Democrats.
“Positive opinions of the Supreme Court have steadily declined among the U.S. public since August 2020, when 70% of Americans held favorable views of the court,” Pew reported. “Today, favorability ratings of the court are similar to where they stood in 2015, shortly after the court’s ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, which established a constitutional right to same-sex marriage (48% held a favorable view of the court then, while 43% held an unfavorable view).”