Chief Justice John Roberts surpasses group of federal leaders in Gallup approval poll

Despite a history of disappointing conservatives with the positions he has taken on controversial cases, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts recently earned the most favorable approval rating among a group of leaders hailing from each of the three branches of government, as The Hill reports.

According to a Gallup poll released Monday, Roberts was the sole official mentioned in the survey to receive a majority of support from Democrats as well as Republicans, perhaps the result of his pronounced efforts to preserve public perception of the judiciary’s independence.

With his reputation as a staunch institutionalist as well as a judicial incrementalist, Roberts managed to garner the approval of 60% of the poll’s respondents, with Democrats registering 55% approval of his performance, 57% of Republicans doing the same, and 64% of independents deeming him worthy of their admiration.

The chief justice stood apart from the 11 high-profile federal figures incorporated into the survey, topping his closest competitor, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell by a 7-point margin, and coming well ahead of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease director Anthony Fauci, who received 52% approval.

Also notable were the individuals who fared worst in the poll, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) securing just 34% approval among participants, and President Joe Biden receiving just 43% support.

As The Hill notes, the timing of the Gallup survey may have served to bolster Roberts’ numbers, given that it was conducted during the first part of December, amid a series of highly-publicized cases at the high court touching on issues such as gun control, religious freedom, and abortion.

It was during oral arguments in a key abortion case out of Mississippi earlier this month that Roberts’ inclination toward maintaining the stability of the institution were put into stark relief, with the chief justice revealing a willingness to leave state restrictions on the procedure untouched, without upending the longstanding precedent established in the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade.

The high esteem in which Roberts is held by a substantial portion of respondents in the Gallup poll comes at a time when approval of the institution in which he serves has dropped to a record low of just 40%, according to The Hill.

With the high court slated to hear arguments in legal challenges to Biden’s sweeping federal vaccine mandates in early 2022, it remains to be seen whether significant numbers of Americans will continue to hold such a high opinion of Roberts, or if his stance on this hotly contested issue will erode his level of public support.