The Supreme Court in a Polarized Era: Is Legitimacy at Risk?

68 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2019

See all articles by Logan Strother

Logan Strother

Purdue University - Department of Political Science

Shana Kushner Gadarian

Syracuse University

Date Written: June 6, 2019

Abstract

We examine the role that mass perceptions of the Supreme Court’s institutional nature—particularly how “political” it is—plays in assessments of its legitimacy. In a series of original studies, we find that policy disagreement with Supreme Court decisions leads individuals to view that decision, and the Court itself, as being political in nature. We then show that the more political people think the Court is, the less legitimate they consider it to be. In this way, we show that policy disagreement with decisions strongly and directly reduces Court legitimacy.

Keywords: Supreme Court, legitimacy, public opinion, polarization

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K40

Suggested Citation

Strother, Logan and Kushner Gadarian, Shana, The Supreme Court in a Polarized Era: Is Legitimacy at Risk? (June 6, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3426819 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3426819

Logan Strother (Contact Author)

Purdue University - Department of Political Science ( email )

100 North University Street
West Lafayette, IN
United States

Shana Kushner Gadarian

Syracuse University ( email )

900 S. Crouse Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2130
United States

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