Poll numbers down, justices say they aren't politicians

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Three Supreme Court justices delivered the same plea in rapid succession in recent days: Don't view justices as politicians. The justices have reason to be concerned. Recent polls show a sharp drop in approval of a court now dominated by conservatives.
FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2021, file photo U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett speaks to an audience at the 30th anniversary of the University of Louisville McConnell Center in Louisville, Ky. Barrett's confirmation was arguably the most political of any member of the court. She was confirmed on a 52-48 vote, the first in modern times with no support from the minority party. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2021, file photo U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett speaks to an audience at the 30th anniversary of the University of Louisville McConnell Center in Louisville, Ky. Barrett's confirmation was arguably the most political of any member of the court. She was confirmed on a 52-48 vote, the first in modern times with no support from the minority party. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Three Supreme Court justices delivered the same plea in rapid succession in recent days: Don't view justices as politicians.

The justices have reason to be concerned. Recent polls show a sharp drop in approval of a court now dominated by conservatives.

The call by justices Clarence Thomas , Stephen Breyer and Amy Coney Barrett for the public not to see court decisions as just an extension of partisan politics isn't new. But the timing of the recent comments is significant, just after a summer in which conservative majorities on the court prevailed over liberal dissents on abortion , immigration and evictions , and at the start of a blockbuster term.

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The future of abortion rights and expansions of gun and religious rights already are on the docket. Other contentious cases could be added. The outcome in each could fracture the court along ideological lines, with the court's six conservative justices chosen by Republican presidents prevailing over its three liberals nominated by Democrats.

To some observers, the Supreme Court is facing the most serious threat to its legitimacy since…
Mark Sherman
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