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Citizens, Courts, and Confirmations:
Positivity Theory and the Judgments of the American People
James L. Gibson & Gregory A. Caldeira

Book Description | Reviews
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]


List of Figures and Tables ix
Preface xi

CHAPTER ONE: Introduction: The Public and Supreme Court Nominations 1
Changes in Attitudes toward Judicial Institutions 4
The Theory of Positivity Bias 7
Outlining the Chapters That Follow 14

CHAPTER TWO: Knowing about Courts 17
Assessing Public Information about Law and Courts 19
Empirical Evidence of Mass Ignorance 20
Discussion and Concluding Comments 34
Appendix 2.A: Survey Design, The 2001 Survey 35

CHAPTER THREE: The Popular Legitimacy of the United States Supreme Court 36
Theories of Institutional Legitimacy 38
Measuring Institutional Legitimacy 44
Accounting for Individual-Level Variability in Institutional Loyalty 49
Discussion 61

CHAPTER FOUR: Institutional Loyalty, Positivity Bias, and the Alito Nomination 63
The Confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court 66
The Positivity Theory Hypotheses 69
Assessments of the Confirmation Process 71
The Models 72
Determinants of Confirmation Preferences 85
Discussion and Concluding Comments 93

CHAPTER FIVE: A Dynamic Test of the Positivity Bias Hypothesis 96
Applying the Theory of Positivity Bias to Confirmations 97
Measuring Change in Attitudes toward the U.S. Supreme Court 98
The Model of Change in Institutional Support 103
Findings 110
Discussion and Concluding Comments 119
CHAPTER SIX: Concluding Thoughts, Theory, and Policy 121
Caveats, Puzzles, and Questions 125

APPENDIX A: Survey Design: The 2005 Survey 129
APPENDIX B: The Representativeness of the Panel Sample 131
APPENDIX C: The Supreme Court and the U.S. Presidential Election of 2000: Wounds, Self-Inflicted or Otherwise? 133
James L. Gibson, Gregory A. Caldeira, and Lester Kenyatta Spence The Theory of Institutional Legitimacy 135
Institutional Loyalty in the Aftermath of the Election 139
Views of the Court's Opinion in Bush v. Gore 144
Discussion and Concluding Comments 156
Appendix C.1: Survey Design 158
Appendix C.2: Measurement 159

References 163
Index 175

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File created: 4/21/2017

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