Supreme Ct. 11-13

Supreme Ct. 11-13 - Public opinion and the court Do...

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Public opinion and the court Do justices care about how they are perceived o Life tenure makes it unlikely No public constituency that must be satisfied o But, most people are concerned about what others think of them Public reputation is important to justices o Ex) Greenhouse effect Justices seeking media approval Evidence: Do republican appointees adjust and become more liberal to win media approval? Change from years 1-2 to years 5-10 on Court o Democrats - 0.9 (less liberal) o Republicans - 4.3 (less liberal) o Republicans new to DC + 10.7 (more liberal) Does public opinion influence the court? o Two kinds of audiences Elite audience Justices place a psychological value on the opinion of their peers Care about people who are in the same station of life--other elites Mass audience Why would justices respond to mass opinion? o The court has no way of enforcing its own policies, so they should be somewhat inclined to make policy that the public can tolerate
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o Representative democracy creates indirect effects o Separation of powers creates direct effects o Indirect effects The public selects those who in turn select the justices Public opinion determines who is elected Elected officials select the justices Justices act on their policy preferences Supreme court vacancy every 24 months
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  • Spring '08
  • McGuire
  • Supreme Court of the United States, Mental retardation, William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Justice Stevens

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Supreme Ct. 11-13 - Public opinion and the court Do...

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