How We Judge SCOTUS

Joseph Daniel Ura reviews research showing how “the Supreme Court’s legitimacy is not dependent on agreement on individual questions of policy between the Court and the public” but upon “the public’s perception that the Court uses fair procedures to make principled decisions—as compared to the strategic behavior of elected legislators.” Furthermore:

Though much of the public may sharply disagree with a decision of the Supreme Court—producing an initial backlash against the policy implications of a particular ruling or set of rulings—the decisions of the Court tend to lead public opinion over the long run. In a recent analysis of more than 50 years of data on Americans’ collective responses to Supreme Court decisions, I find that public responses to important Supreme Court decisions were typically marked by a negative response in public opinion in the short-term that decays and is replaced by a long-run movement in public opinion toward the positions adopted by the Court.