Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2300515
 


 



Is the U.S. Supreme Court's Legitimacy Grounded in Performance Satisfaction and Ideology?


James L. Gibson


Washington University in Saint Louis - Department of Political Science

Michael Nelson


Pennsylvania State University - Department of Political Science

2013

APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper
American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting

Abstract:     
Bartels and Johnston have recently presented evidence suggesting that the legitimacy of the Supreme Court is grounded in the ideological preferences and perceptions of the American people. In addition, they offer experimental data purporting to show that dissatisfaction with a single Court decision substantially diminishes the institution’s legitimacy. These findings strongly break with earlier research on the Court’s institutional support, as the authors recognize. The theoretical implications of their findings are profound. If the authors are correct that legitimacy is strongly dependent upon satisfying the policy preferences and ideological predilections of the American people, the essence of legitimacy is fundamentally altered. Consequently, we re-investigate the relationships among ideology, performance satisfaction, and Court legitimacy, unearthing empirical findings that diverge markedly from theirs. We conclude with some thoughts about how the Court’s “countermajoritarian dilemma” can be reconceptualized and recalculated, once more drawing conclusions sharply at odds with those of Bartels and Johnston.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 50

Keywords: U.S. Supreme Court legitimacy, countermajoritarianism, public opinion, diffuse support

JEL Classification: 026

working papers series





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Date posted: August 12, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Gibson, James L. and Nelson, Michael, Is the U.S. Supreme Court's Legitimacy Grounded in Performance Satisfaction and Ideology? (2013). APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper; American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2300515

Contact Information

James L. Gibson (Contact Author)
Washington University in Saint Louis - Department of Political Science ( email )
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States
Michael Nelson
Pennsylvania State University - Department of Political Science ( email )
University Park, State College, PA 16801
United States
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