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Political Behavior

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 181–194 | Cite as

Judicial Behavior and Public Opinion: Popular Expectations Regarding the Factors That Influence Supreme Court Decisions

  • John M. SchebII
  • William Lyons
Article

Abstract

This article examines the mass public's perceptions of the factors that actually influence Supreme Court decisions as well those that ought to influence such decisions. We expect significant discrepancies between what the public believes ought to be the case and what it perceives to actually be the case with regard to Supreme Court decision making and that these discrepancies have a significant negative impact on the public's assessment of the Court. More specifically, we hypothesize that the public believes that political factors have more influence on the Court than “ought” to be the case and that the public perceives traditional legal factors to be less influential than they should be. We find that the expected discrepancies do exist and significantly detract from popular regard for the Court.

judicial behavior public opinion 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. SchebII
    • 1
  • William Lyons
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of TennesseeKnoxville
  2. 2.University of TennesseeKnoxville

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