Public evaluations of the Supreme Court are influenced by response to the Court's rulings, but the specific elements of decisions that affect such institutional appraisals require identification. In particular, previous investigators have been unable to determine if support of the Supreme Court moves in response to the substantive aspects of decisions, public concern with democratic procedure, or attention to both substance and procedure. This article presents the results of an experiment designed to distinguish the possible influences of substantive and procedural concerns. Findings reveal that the substantive aspects of Court rulings exert significant influence on evaluations of the Supreme Court, affecting institutional support, confidence in the Court's justices, and specific support of each of the three decisions that were studied. In contrast, concern with the democratic implications of activist rulings failed to alter any dimension of Court approval.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science