Case Visibility and the Electoral Connection in State Supreme Courts
29 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2009
Date Written: August 7, 2009
Critics traditionally portray state supreme court elections as low-information events that fail to accomplish the stated goal of engendering accountability to the public. Recent changes in the intensity of contestable judicial elections have led scholars to consider the effect of public opinion on state court decision making. We delineate necessary conditions for judicial responsiveness to public opinion, integrating research on state court decision making with the broader literature on representation. We then empirically test our framework for judicial responsiveness. Our findings suggest that the strength of the electoral connection between state supreme court justices and their constituents is quite dependent on method of judicial retention and the visibility of the case.
Keywords: Electoral Connection, Public Opinion, State Supreme Court, Case Visibility
JEL Classification: D72, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation