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Gadarian Study on the Politicization and Legitimacy of the Supreme Court Cited in Vox Article

May 6, 2022


Shana Kushner Gadarian

Shana Kushner Gadarian

The legitimacy of the Supreme Court has been eroded in recent years due to the unprecedented blockade of President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in 2016, and the increasingly hardline conservative tilt of Court rulings, among other things. Combined, they do significant damage to the idea that the Court is somehow above politics. And Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked draft opinion that would overrule Roe v. Wade, if issued, could be yet another significant blow to Court legitimacy. 

A 2019 paper by Shana Gadarian, professor of political science, and Maxwell alum Logan Strother '13 M.A. (PSc)/'17 Ph.D. (PSc) argues that the rise of extreme partisanship has changed the Court’s ability to issue controversial rulings and maintain its legitimacy afterward. In the current climate, they find, “policy disagreement with Supreme Court decisions leads individuals to view that decision, and the Court itself, as being political in nature”—which, they also show, damages the Court’s fundamental legitimacy.

Read more in the Vox article, "What happens when the public loses faith in the Supreme Court?"

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