The supreme court and local public opinion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Most research suggests that the mass public knows very little about the Supreme Court and, consequently, that decisions do not affect attitudes toward the Court. I argue that where there is sufficient access to information about Court cases and when the issues are perceived as important, people pay attention and use this information in their evaluation of the Court. The research is based on a series of two-wave panel studies that examine the effect of Supreme Court cases in the local communities where the controversies began. The results show that a substantial number of residents heard about the Court's decision and subsequently changed their evaluation of the Supreme Court, especially those who live in the immediate community. The results suggest that we need to consider other circumstances in which people hear about and care about Supreme Court decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-100
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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