Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

2020

Abstract

Do people believe a federal court when it rules against the government? And does such judicial credibility depend on the perceived political affiliation of the judge? This study presents a survey experiment addressing these questions, based on a set of recent cases in which both a judge appointed by President George W. Bush and a judge appointed by President Bill Clinton declared the same Trump Administration action to be unlawful. The findings offer evidence that, in a politically salient case, the partisan identification of the judge – here, as a “Bush judge” or “Clinton judge” – can influence the credibility of judicial review in the public mind.

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