Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1898485
 


 



Public Reverence for the U.S. Supreme Court: Is the Court Invincible?


James L. Gibson


Washington University in St. Louis - Department of Political Science

February 27, 2012


Abstract:     
Social science knowledge about public attitudes toward the United States Supreme Court has accumulated over the last few decades to the point that a number of sound empirical propositions have emerged. This article reviews those findings and provides new data from a 2011 nationally representative survey to test various hypotheses about the willingness of citizens to extend legitimacy to the Supreme Court. The most important findings of this analysis are that the legitimacy of the Court is high, it is not dependent upon satisfaction with the Court’s decisions, and therefore the Court’s legitimacy has changed almost imperceptibly over the last few decades. By being a sharply divided policy-making institution, the Court is able to please those of all ideological stripes at least some of the time, which may undermine policy dissatisfaction as a source of threat to the institution’s legitimacy. The Court is a majoritarian institution not in the sense that its decisions are in line with the preferences of the majority, but rather in the sense that it is dependent upon the willingness of most Americans to cede legitimacy to the Court, and therefore to accept decisions with which they disagree.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 47

Keywords: Judicial Legitimacy, Public Opinion

working papers series


Download This Paper

Date posted: July 30, 2011 ; Last revised: March 27, 2012

Suggested Citation

Gibson, James L., Public Reverence for the U.S. Supreme Court: Is the Court Invincible? (February 27, 2012). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1898485 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1898485

Contact Information

James L. Gibson (Contact Author)
Washington University in St. Louis - Department of Political Science ( email )
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 656
Downloads: 144
Download Rank: 114,140

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo8 in 0.453 seconds