Public Perceptions of the Lower Federal Courts

30 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2009

See all articles by Sara C. Benesh

Sara C. Benesh

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Amy Steigerwalt

Georgia State University

Nancy Scherer

Wellesley College - Political Science

Date Written: August 3, 2009

Abstract

The lower federal courts decide cases every day that are essential to a democracy and yet, lower federal court judges are not accountable to the people nor are their decisions often reversed (or even reviewed) by the U.S. Supreme Court. Their decisions are not self-implementing. Hence, our confidence in these local federal courts -- to make the right decisions and to decide cases fairly -- is essential to upholding the rule of law. But, we know little about levels of confidence in these courts or knowledge about these courts. This article seeks to inform on both of those points via use of a national randomly generated survey.

Keywords: public opinion, lower federal courts, confidence, diffuse support, Supreme Court

Suggested Citation

Benesh, Sara C. and Steigerwalt, Amy and Scherer, Nancy, Public Perceptions of the Lower Federal Courts (August 3, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1443434 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1443434

Sara C. Benesh (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee ( email )

Bolton Hall 802
3210 N. Maryland Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53211
United States

Amy Steigerwalt

Georgia State University ( email )

38 Peachtree Center Ave
Suite 1005
Atlanta, GA 30302
United States

Nancy Scherer

Wellesley College - Political Science ( email )

Pendleton East 16
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481
United States

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