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"New-Style" Judicial Campaigns and the Legitimacy of State High Courts

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Abstract:

Institutional legitimacy is perhaps the most important political capital courts possess. Many believe, however, that the legitimacy of elected state courts is being threatened by the rise of politicized judicial election campaigns. At least three features of such campaigns, the argument goes, are dangerous to the perceived impartiality of courts: campaign contributions, attack ads, and policy pronouncements by candidates for judicial office. By means of an experimental vignette embedded in a representative national survey, I investigate whether these factors in fact compromise the perceived impartiality of courts. The survey data indicate that campaign contributions do indeed lead to a diminution of legitimacy, in courts just as in legislatures. The use of attack ads detracts from legislative legitimacy, but not from the legitimacy of courts. Most important, however, policy pronouncements, even those promising to make decisions in a certain way, have no impact whatsoever on the legitimacy of courts and judges. Thus, this analysis demonstrates that legitimacy is not obdurate and that campaign activity can indeed deplete the reservoir of goodwill courts typically enjoy in the United States, even if the culprit is not the free-speech rights of candidates for state judicial office.

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campaign (138), state (123), court (111), polici (104), judici (98), judg (94), elect (91), legitimaci (83), contribut (76), polit (71), institut (69), ad (61), imparti (54), suprem (52), 1 (51), use (50), attack (47), gibson (43), candid (43), respond (41), analysi (40),

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Institutitonal legitimacy, Republican Party of Minnesota v White, effects of campaigns,judicial elections
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Name: MPSA Annual National Conference
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http://www.indiana.edu/~mpsa/


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MLA Citation:

Gibson, James. ""New-Style" Judicial Campaigns and the Legitimacy of State High Courts" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the MPSA Annual National Conference, Palmer House Hotel, Hilton, Chicago, IL, Apr 03, 2008 <Not Available>. 2013-12-14 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p266165_index.html>

APA Citation:

Gibson, J. L. , 2008-04-03 ""New-Style" Judicial Campaigns and the Legitimacy of State High Courts" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the MPSA Annual National Conference, Palmer House Hotel, Hilton, Chicago, IL Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2013-12-14 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p266165_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Institutional legitimacy is perhaps the most important political capital courts possess. Many believe, however, that the legitimacy of elected state courts is being threatened by the rise of politicized judicial election campaigns. At least three features of such campaigns, the argument goes, are dangerous to the perceived impartiality of courts: campaign contributions, attack ads, and policy pronouncements by candidates for judicial office. By means of an experimental vignette embedded in a representative national survey, I investigate whether these factors in fact compromise the perceived impartiality of courts. The survey data indicate that campaign contributions do indeed lead to a diminution of legitimacy, in courts just as in legislatures. The use of attack ads detracts from legislative legitimacy, but not from the legitimacy of courts. Most important, however, policy pronouncements, even those promising to make decisions in a certain way, have no impact whatsoever on the legitimacy of courts and judges. Thus, this analysis demonstrates that legitimacy is not obdurate and that campaign activity can indeed deplete the reservoir of goodwill courts typically enjoy in the United States, even if the culprit is not the free-speech rights of candidates for state judicial office.

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Document Type: application/pdf
Page count: 42
Word count: 12355
Text sample:
“New-Style” Judicial Campaigns and the Legitimacy of State High Courts: Results from a National Survey James L. Gibson Sidney W. Souers Professor of Government Professor of African and African American Studies Department of Political Science Director Program on Citizenship and Democratic Values Weidenbaum Center on the Economy Government and Public Policy Washington University in St. Louis Campus Box 1063 219 Eliot Hall St. Louis MO 63130-4899 United States jgibson@wustl.edu Fellow Centre for Comparative and International Politics Professor Extraordinary in
342 Note: All the independent variables are dichotomies scored at 0 or 1. The dependent variables also vary from 0 to 1. *** ** * Standardized regression coefficients (â): p < .001 p < .01 p < .05 -37- Figure 1. Policy Talk and the Perceived Impartiality of a State Supreme Court Judge -38- Figure 2. Campaign Contributions and the Perceived Impartiality of a State Supreme Court Judge -39- Figure 3. Attack Ads and the Perceived Impartiality of a


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