Partisans in Robes: Party Cues and Public Acceptance of Supreme Court Decisions

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Date: July 2014
From: American Journal of Political Science(Vol. 58, Issue 3)
Publisher: Wiley Subscription Services, Inc.
Document Type: Report
Length: 295 words

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Abstract :

Byline: Stephen P. Nicholson, Thomas G. Hansford The public perceives the Supreme Court to be a legal institution. This perception enables the Court's legitimacy-conferring function, which serves to increase public acceptance of its decisions. Yet, the public acknowledges a political aspect to the Court as well. To evaluate how the public responds to the different images of the Supreme Court, we investigate whether and how depictions of specifically partisan (e.g., Republican) Court rulings shape public acceptance of its decisions while varying institutional, legal, and issue characteristics. Using survey experiments, we find that party cues and partisanship, more so than the imprimatur of the Court, affect public acceptance. We also find that polarization diminishes the effect of party cues. Attributing a decision to the Court does little to increase baseline acceptance or attenuate partisan cue effects. The Court's uniqueness, at least in terms of its legitimacy-conferring function, is perhaps overstated. Article Note: Earlier versions of this article were presented at the 2012 International Conference on Law and Society, Honolulu, Hawaii, and the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, Illinois. We thank Kevin Arceneaux and Matt Hibbing for helpful comments and suggestions. Replication data and code can be found at the AJPS Dataverse ( Supporting information: Additional Supporting Information may be found in the online version of this article Disclaimer: Supplementary materials have been peer-reviewed but not copyedited. CAPTION(S): The Cooperative Congressional Election Study Cut Points for the Ordered Logit Models The Marginal Effect of Party Polarization Based on Pooled Model in Table 3 The Pooled Model from Table 3 with Fixed Effects Table 4 Models Without Triple Interaction Terms Table 4 Models with High Approval and High Knowledge Subgroups Table 5 Models Without Triple Interaction Terms Table 5 Models with Fixed Effects

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A397380881