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Curbing the Court

Curbing the Court
Why the Public Constrains Judicial Independence


  • Publication planned for: July 2020
  • availability: Not yet published - available from July 2020
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107188419

£ 75.00

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About the Authors
  • What motivates political actors with diverging interests to respect the Supreme Court's authority? A popular answer is that the public serves as the guardian of judicial independence by punishing elected officials who undermine the justices. Curbing the Court challenges this claim, presenting a new theory of how we perceive the Supreme Court. Bartels and Johnston argue that, contrary to conventional wisdom, citizens are not principled defenders of the judiciary. Instead, they seek to limit the Court's power when it suits their political aims, and this inclination is heightened during times of sharp partisan polarization. Backed by a wealth of observational and experimental data, Bartels and Johnston push the conceptual, theoretical, and empirical boundaries of the study of public opinion of the courts. By connecting citizens to the strategic behavior of elites, this book offers fresh insights into the vulnerability of judicial institutions in an increasingly contentious era of American politics.

    • · Will appeal to anyone interested in public opinion, polarization, and judicial politics · Challenges the conventional wisdom with a fresh perspective - a 'policy-based' theoretical framework for understanding how the public relates to the Court · A 'one-stop-shop' for anyone wishing to review the literature on public opinion and judicial politics.
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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: July 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107188419
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • contains: 35 b/w illus. 35 tables
    • availability: Not yet published - available from July 2020
  • Table of Contents

    1. The guardians of judicial independence
    2. Theories of public support for court-curbing
    3. A deep dive into Supreme Court evaluation and support
    4. General policy disagreement and broadly targeted court-curbing
    5. Specific policy disagreement and support for court-curbing
    6. Partisan polarization and support for court-curbing
    7. Procedural perceptions and motivated reasoning
    8. Reconsidering the public foundations of judicial independence.

  • Authors

    Brandon L. Bartels, George Washington University, Washington DC
    Brandon L. Bartels is Associate Professor of Political Science at George Washington University and co-editor of Making Law and Courts Research Relevant, published by Routledge. His research has appeared in journals such as the American Political Science Review and American Journal of Political Science.

    Christopher D. Johnston, Duke University, North Carolina
    Christopher D. Johnston is Associate Professor of Political Science at Duke University. He is co-author of The Ambivalent Partisan, published by Oxford University Press, and Open Versus Closed: Personality, Identity, and the Politics of Redistribution, published by Cambridge University Press, both of which won the David O. Sears award.

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