Procedural perceptions and support for the U.S. Supreme Court

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


This paper examines public support toward the U.S. Supreme Court. Although previous scholars have rightly focused on policy outcomes in explaining public attitudes toward the Court, outcome-based theories are unable to explain why support for the Court remains high despite public disagreement with Court decisions. Some scholars argue the low visibility of the Court shields it from public scrutiny. The exposure explanation, however, is inconsistent with the empirical finding that to know the Court is to love it. This paper reconciles these differences by showing how media coverage of the Court can influence procedural perceptions and subsequent support for the Court. Expanding on recent studies examining media coverage of the Court and perceptions of fairness, this study examines how procedural perceptions mediate support for the Court. An experimental design shows that the media's portrayal of procedural information as either fair or unfair influences public evaluations of procedural fairness and subsequently support for the Court as an institution and the individual justices serving on the Court's bench.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-698
Number of pages24
JournalPolitical Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Political support
  • Procedural justice
  • Public opinion
  • Supreme Court

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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