Homegrown Institutional Legitimacy: Assessing Citizens' Diffuse Support for Their State Courts
42 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2005
Date Written: May 4, 2006
In the years following the United States Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore, the public's support for the judicial system looms as an especially important concern. While studies have confirmed that the Supreme Court's reservoir of public good will has remained largely intact following the politically divisive decision, the status of public support for other American courts has received little attention. This reflects a broader trend in judicial politics scholarship toward placing inordinate attention on explaining public support for the U.S. Supreme Court, while largely ignoring the courts where most of the policy-making in the nation occurs - state courts. We use 2001 survey data from a nationwide sample to assess the factors influencing diffuse citizen support for state courts. We find that many of the considerations affecting diffuse support for state courts parallel the determinants of such support for the nation's high Court. However, we also find important differences between explanations of citizen support for state courts and the Supreme Court.
Keywords: bush, gore, legitimacy, support, courts, supreme, state, campaign, judicial, politics, economics, empirical, quantitative, regression, public, support, survey, diffuse, opinion
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