Institutional legitimacy, policy legitimacy, and the supreme court

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As they relate to the Supreme Court, institutional legitimacy and policy legitimacy have most frequently been studied in isolation. In this article, a holistic framework is proposed and examined. The political capital hypothesis holds that the Supreme Court can introduce institutional support in its efforts to generate legitimacy for particular policies, but that the Court risks its institutional backing by advancing controversial edicts. Therefore, institutional legitimacy functions as an expendable political capital with which the Supreme Court can confer some increment of policy legitimacy. Two experiments are conducted to test this dynamic, with results providing strong support for the hypothesized process of legitimation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-477
Number of pages21
JournalAmerican Politics Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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