In their 1993 article in this Review, William Mishler and Reginald Sheehan reported evidence of both direct and indirect impacts of public opinion on Supreme Court decisions. Helmut Norpoth and Jeffrey Segal offer a methodological critique and in their own reanalysis of the data find, contrary to Mishler and Sheehan, no evidence for a direct path of influence from public opinion to Court decisions. Instead, they find an abrupt-permanent shift of judicial behavior consistent with an indirect model of influence whereby popularly elected presidents, through new appointments, affect the ideological complexion of the Court. In response, Mishler and Sheehan defend the direct public opinion linkage originally noted, at both individual and aggregate level; respond to the methodological critique; and offer further statistical analysis to support the aggregate linkages.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations