Targeting the Court with Presidential Appeals

30 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2014

See all articles by Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha

Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha

University of North Texas

Paul M. Collins

University of Massachusetts Amherst - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

Lacking the power to enforce its decisions, the Supreme Court must rely on other actors to ensure that its dictates are carried out. One such actor is the president, who can support or oppose the Court’s decisions in his public speeches in an effort to promote or hinder their implementation. Using an original dataset, we investigate the tone of presidential speeches about Supreme Court cases to understand why sitting presidents target Supreme Court decisions in their public rhetoric. We find that presidents discuss cases based primarily on their ideological (dis)agreement with the decision, whether the decision declared a law unconstitutional, and whether the case was decided by a minimum winning coalition. These results inform our understanding of presidential speechmaking, executive-judicial relations, and the ways in which presidents implement legal decisions.

Keywords: president, courts, tone, rhetoric, going public

Suggested Citation

Eshbaugh-Soha, Matthew and Collins, Paul M., Targeting the Court with Presidential Appeals (2014). APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2453447

Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha (Contact Author)

University of North Texas ( email )

1155 Union Circle #305340
Denton, TX 76203
United States

Paul M. Collins

University of Massachusetts Amherst - Department of Political Science ( email )

Thompson Hall
Amherst, MA 01003
United States

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