Public Perceptions of the Supreme Court: How Policy Disagreement Affects Legitimacy

Logan Strother, Shana Kushner Gadarian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


It is widely agreed that dissatisfaction with Supreme Court decisions harms the Court's standing among the public. However, we do not yet know how or why Court performance affects legitimacy. We examine the role that mass perceptions of the Supreme Court's institutional nature - particularly how "political"it is - plays in assessments of its legitimacy. We find that policy disagreement with Supreme Court decisions causes individuals to view that decision, and the Court itself, as being political in nature. We then show that the more political people think the Court is, the less legitimate they consider it to be. In this way, we show that policy disagreement with decisions strongly and directly reduces Court legitimacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-134
Number of pages48
JournalForum (Germany)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022


  • Supreme Court
  • legitimacy
  • polarization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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