14 February 2016

57% say Obama should nominate Scalia’s successor


A clear majority of Americans support the right of President Obama to nominate a successor to Antonin Scalia – the conservative judge who was appointed to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan in 1986 and died yesterday, aged 79. 57% agree that Mr Obama, as the sitting president until next January, should appoint a successor, subject to Senate approval. 37% disagree, saying that the next president should make the appointment because “this appointment is too important for a president who is in his last year of office”.

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We also asked YouGov’s First Verdict panel what they thought of the Supreme Court at this point in its history and the answers from the panelists will give more encouragement to Republicans and conservatives who, like Justice Scalia did, worry about judicial activism. 47% agreed that “it has too much power now because Supreme Court justices have started to create law rather than simply interpret and enforce the constitution”. 35%, however, saw the Court as “an increasing force for good in America” – because of that activism and the judgments which had advanced “the rights of women to have an abortion and gay people to marry”. The full results are below:

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For more about Portrait of America and the methodology behind First Verdict, click here.

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Tim Montgomerie is Editor of Portrait of America