Reassessing the Impact of Supreme Court Decisions on Public Opinion: Gay Civil Rights Cases. Stoutenborough, J. W., Haider-Markel, D. P., & Allen, M. D. Political Research Quarterly, 59(3):419--433, 2006.
Reassessing the Impact of Supreme Court Decisions on Public Opinion: Gay Civil Rights Cases [link]Paper  abstract   bibtex   
The theoretical and empirical debate over the ability of the U.S. Supreme Court to influence public opinion through its decisions is far from settled. Scholars have examined the question using a variety of theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence, but there is no theoretical consensus, nor are the empirical studies without methodological weaknesses. We enter this debate in an attempt to bring some clarity to the theoretical approaches, overcome some of the methodological shortcomings, and bring a yet unstudied issue area, Court decisions on gay civil rights, under scrutiny. We argue that the ability of Court decisions to influence public opinion is a function of the salience of the issue, the political context, and case specific factors at the aggregate level. At the individual level these factors are also relevant, but citizen characteristics must also be taken into consideration. Our analysis of aggregate level and individual level opinion does indeed suggest that Court decisions can influence public opinion. However, the ability of Court decisions to influence public opinion is conditional. Our findings lend support to the legitimation hypothesis and the structural effects model. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of our findings and suggestions for future research.
@article{stoutenborough_reassessing_2006,
	title = {Reassessing the {Impact} of {Supreme} {Court} {Decisions} on {Public} {Opinion}: {Gay} {Civil} {Rights} {Cases}},
	volume = {59},
	issn = {1065-9129},
	shorttitle = {Reassessing the {Impact} of {Supreme} {Court} {Decisions} on {Public} {Opinion}},
	url = {http://www.jstor.org.pitt.idm.oclc.org/stable/4148043},
	abstract = {The theoretical and empirical debate over the ability of the U.S. Supreme Court to influence public opinion through its decisions is far from settled. Scholars have examined the question using a variety of theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence, but there is no theoretical consensus, nor are the empirical studies without methodological weaknesses. We enter this debate in an attempt to bring some clarity to the theoretical approaches, overcome some of the methodological shortcomings, and bring a yet unstudied issue area, Court decisions on gay civil rights, under scrutiny. We argue that the ability of Court decisions to influence public opinion is a function of the salience of the issue, the political context, and case specific factors at the aggregate level. At the individual level these factors are also relevant, but citizen characteristics must also be taken into consideration. Our analysis of aggregate level and individual level opinion does indeed suggest that Court decisions can influence public opinion. However, the ability of Court decisions to influence public opinion is conditional. Our findings lend support to the legitimation hypothesis and the structural effects model. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of our findings and suggestions for future research.},
	number = {3},
	urldate = {2016-01-26TZ},
	journal = {Political Research Quarterly},
	author = {Stoutenborough, James W. and Haider-Markel, Donald P. and Allen, Mahalley D.},
	year = {2006},
	keywords = {5-3, Judicial argument, Lawrence influence on public opinion, Lawrence v. Texas, Supreme Court influence on public opinion, scalia},
	pages = {419--433}
}

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