The myth of legality and public evaluation of the Supreme Court

Citation
Jm. Scheb et W. Lyons, The myth of legality and public evaluation of the Supreme Court, SOC SCI Q, 81(4), 2000, pp. 928-940
Citations number
49
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Sociology & Antropology
Journal title
SOCIAL SCIENCE QUARTERLY
ISSN journal
0038-4941 → ACNP
Volume
81
Issue
4
Year of publication
2000
Pages
928 - 940
Database
ISI
SICI code
0038-4941(200012)81:4<928:TMOLAP>2.0.ZU;2-9
Abstract
Objective. We investigate the extent to which the American people subscribe to "the myth of legality"-the notion that the Supreme Court's decisions ar e based on legal principles rather than on political influences. Methods. U sing survey research, we examine the mass public's perceptions of the bases for Supreme Court decisions. We identify those perceptions that are consis tent with the myth of legality and isolate the "myth holders." Finally, we embed myth holding into a broader model of public evaluation of the Supreme Court. Results. We find that the myth holders are better educated, more at tentive to the Court, and more favorable to the Court as an institution, ev en when controlling for other determinants of public evaluation of the Cour t. Conclusions. The myth of legality is a viable component of American poli tical culture that assists citizens in making sense of the Supreme Court's decision-making processes.