Do Reasons Matter? The Impact of Opinion Content on Supreme Court Legitimacy
Political Research Quarterly, 65(1) 206–216 (2012)
11 Pages Posted: 1 May 2016
Date Written: April 28, 2016
Is Supreme Court legitimacy affected by the way justices explain their decisions to the public? Existing work shows a link between legitimacy and case outcomes but often overlooks the impact of opinion content. Using a novel experimental design, the author measures the effect of three different types of judicial arguments on public support for the Court. The results suggest that the rationales used by justices in their opinions can affect institutional legitimacy, but to a lesser degree than conventional wisdom suggests.Taken together with other recent legitimacy research, these findings have important implications and set the stage for follow-up research.
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