Larry Sabato is mocking the U.S. Supreme Court, after a just-released Quinnipiac poll found its approval rating has dropped to the lowest in the nearly two decades the university has measured the institution’s favorability.
Sabato’s name is nearly synonymous with political science. He’s a well-regarded political scientist, political analyst, political science professor and the founder and director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, which publishes the well-known Sabato’s Crystal Ball website.
“More than half of Americans (54 percent) disapprove of the way the Supreme Court is handling its job, while 35 percent approve,” the Quinnipiac University national poll released Wednesday found. “Registered voters give the Supreme Court a negative 36 – 55 percent job approval rating, which is the lowest job approval among registered voters since Quinnipiac University began asking the question in 2004.”
Sabato was not shy about mocking the institution, which had suffered great reputation loss even before its decision in June to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that found a constitutional right to abortion. Conservative justices currently on the Court had called “precedent,” the “law of the land,” or even, “settled as a precedent.”
“Just released,’ Sabato tweeted. “Supreme Court down to 36% public approval–an all-time low since [Quinnipiac] started asking the question in 2004. Other pollsters have had similar recent findings. Gee, I wonder why? What could it be? Calling on the collective wisdom of Twitter!!”
The Quinnipiac poll also had good news for President Biden and bad news for Donald Trump, the ex-president.
President Biden scored his “his highest marks among registered voters since September 2021,” with 43% approval and 49% disapproval. Just three weeks ago Quinnipiac had President Biden at 36% approval and 55% disapproval.
Donald Trump however, received far worse support, with just 31% favorable and 59% unfavorable, “the lowest favorability rating he’s received among registered voters since July 2015.”
It does not get better for the current sole GOP presidential candidate.
“Among Republican voters, 70 percent have a favorable opinion of Trump, while 20 percent have an unfavorable opinion of him. This is the lowest favorability rating among Republican voters in a Quinnipiac University poll since March 2016,” which is before he was elected to a single term.
And, even more bad news for Trump.
“Seven in 10 registered voters (70 percent) say they would not like to see Donald Trump as the 2024 Republican nominee for president, while 25 percent say they would like to see him as the nominee. Among Republican voters, 56 percent say they would like to see Trump as the 2024 Republican nominee for president, while 38 percent say they would not like to see him as the nominee.”
The poll also looks at same-sex marriage.
“Nearly 7 in 10 Americans (68 percent) support allowing same-sex couples to get married, while 22 percent oppose it,” Quinnipiac found. “Americans 56 – 36 percent think that businesses should not be allowed to refuse service to same-sex couples.”
You can read the full report here.
Image: Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States
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Burn Bags and Use of Personal Email: Justices’ Security Practices Even Worse Than Leak Investigation Showed
Multiple sources familiar with the court’s operations told CNN that justices often used personal email accounts for sensitive communications, employees used printers that didn’t produce logs and “burn bags” to collect sensitive materials for destruction were often left open and unattended in hallways.
“This has been going on for years,” one former employee said.
Some justices were slow to adopt email technology — they were “not masters of information security protocol,” according to one source — and court employees were afraid to confront them over the security risks.
Supreme Court marshal Gail Curley in her investigative report noted that printer logs intended to track document production were insufficient, but a former employee said employees who had VPN access could print documents from any computer, and remote work during COVID-19 shutdowns and otherwise meant draft opinions could have been taken from the building in violation of court guidelines.
Curley’s report noted that court methods for destroying sensitive documents should be improved, but three employees said striped burn bags supplied to chambers were often left sitting out unattended, and each justice had their own protocols for disposing of court documents.
A source familiar with court security practices said some colleagues stapled burn bags shut, while others filled them to capacity and left them near their desks, and others simply left them sitting in hallways where anyone with access to non-public areas could have taken sensitive materials.
Ethics Complaint Against Sinema Urges Investigation Into Staffers’ Duties and Her Possible ‘Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars’
If you are hired to work in Senator Kyrsten Sinema‘s office on Capitol Hill there is a 37-page memo you’ll want to read detailing all the responsibilities her staffers are required to perform, from getting her groceries, calling Verizon and going to her D.C. home to wait for a repair person if the internet goes out, scheduling massages, and ensuring her very detailed airplane requirements are met.
“It is your job to make her as comfortable as possible on each flight,” the memo says, as The Daily Beast first reported in December.
But now a group of 13 non-profit organizations have joined to file an ethics complaint against Senator Sinema (I-AZ), a new Daily Beast report reveals Friday, including details from that 37-page memo which the newly-independent lawmaker directed to be drawn up. Dated Thursday, the complaint is titled: “Letter to Senate Ethics Committee Regarding Reports of Sinema Abusing Taxpayer Dollars.”
“Senate Ethics guidelines stipulate that staff should not be asked to perform personal errands for members. This is an unambiguous ethical boundary,” the group’s complaint reads.
It also points to that 37-page memo, which it says, “indicates that staff are required, as a condition of their jobs, to carry out numerous tasks that are outside the scope of public employment, including doing personal errands for the Senator, carrying out household tasks at her private residence, and advancing their own funds for her personal purchases. It makes unreasonably precise scheduling demands, and former staff have confirmed some of the allegations.”
The allegations continue.
“And, most troubling, it calls on staff members, who are employed and paid by the public and explicitly barred from campaign activity, to schedule and facilitate political fundraisers and meetings with campaign donors, presumably during the workday while they are on the clock and physically on federal property.”
“Senate staff are prohibited under your guidelines from engaging in political activity ‘on Senate time, using Senate equipment or facilities.’ While you have not prohibited campaign activity outside work hours, the plain language of the memo clearly implies that Sen. Sinema expects her staff to carry out these scheduling tasks during the workday. And these tasks may separately violate Senate Rule 41.1, which explicitly prohibits Senate employees from ‘solicit[ing]’ campaign funds.”
The complaint also alleges that “Sen. Sinema required her staff to schedule three physical therapy and massage sessions a week related to her training for athletic competitions, and to tightly manage her dietary schedule — while allotting only a 30-minute period on Wednesdays for meetings with the constituents she represents.”
The carefully-worded complaint adds, “the allegations paint a picture of a Senator who is not only unresponsive to her constituents, but also disrespectful and even abusive to her employees and wholly unconcerned about her obligations under the law.”
The Daily Beast has posted a copy of the complaint here.
You can read The Beast’s full report here.
Santos May Owe Thousands in Unpaid Traffic Violation Fines and Fees Across Two States: Report
When he left for Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. George Santos also appears to have left a string of unpaid traffic violation fines and fees in two states, including red light, double parking, and overtime parking citations totaling thousands of dollars.
The embattled serial liar and freshman New York GOP lawmaker “may owe more than $3,400 in unpaid citations, according to records from New York City and Florida,” CBS News reports.
Included in that total is $1,299.10 from Florida for toll violations that “racked up late fees and were ultimately sent to collections agencies.”
It appears that in November of 2016, as soon as he got his New York driver’s license after having one in Florida, a car previously ticketed via a red light camera whose plates match one registered to Santos “began piling up citations in New York City — 29 in the next two and a half years, according to city government records, which do not identify the drivers of vehicles being ticketed.”
“More than $1,800 in payments were made for 17 citations, but another 12 remain unpaid, with $2,142.61 still due, according to city records.”
CBS News also points to a New York Post report from January revealing “a Nissan Rogue driven frequently by Santos in recent months had been issued speeding tickets at least five times since he was elected on Nov. 8, ‘including four times in school zones.'”
Santos is under numerous state and federal investigations that span the gamut from campaign finance to allegedly stolen charity funds donated to save the life of a veteran’s service dog. The dog died after the vet could not afford to pay for the operation.
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