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University of Michigan Law School

Constitutional Law

Public opinion

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Full-Text Articles in Judges

But How Will The People Know? Public Opinion As A Meager Influence In Shaping Contemporary Supreme Court Decision Making, Tom Goldstein, Amy Howe Apr 2011

But How Will The People Know? Public Opinion As A Meager Influence In Shaping Contemporary Supreme Court Decision Making, Tom Goldstein, Amy Howe

Michigan Law Review

Chief Justice John Roberts famously described the ideal Supreme Court Justice as analogous to a baseball umpire, who simply "applies" the rules, rather than making them. Roberts promised to "remember that it's my job to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat." At her own recent confirmation hearings, Elena Kagan demurred, opining that Roberts's metaphor might erroneously suggest that "everything is clear-cut, and that there's no judgment in the process." Based on his 2009 book, The Will of the People: How Public Opinion Has Influenced the Supreme Court and Shaped the Meaning of the ...


Double-Consciousness In Constitutional Adjudication, Richard A. Primus Jan 2007

Double-Consciousness In Constitutional Adjudication, Richard A. Primus

Articles

Constitutional theorists are familiar with epistemic and consequentialist reasons why judges might allow their decision making to be shaped by strongly held public opinion. The epistemic approach treats public opinion as an expert indicator, while the consequentialistapproach counsels judges to compromise legally correct interpretations so as not to antagonize a hostile public. But there is also a third reason, which we can think ofas constitutive. In limited circumstances, the fact that the public strongly holds a given view can be one of the factors that together constitute the correct answer to a constitutional question. In those circumstances, what the public ...


Mediated Popular Constitutionalism, Barry Friedman Aug 2003

Mediated Popular Constitutionalism, Barry Friedman

Michigan Law Review

There are divergent views in the legal academy concerning judicial review, but at their core these views share a common (and possibly flawed) premise. The premise is that the exercise of judicial review is countermajoritarian in nature. There is a regrettable lack of clarity in the relevant scholarship about what "countermajoritarian" actually means. At bottom it often seems to be a claim, and perhaps must be a claim, that when judges invalidate governmental decisions based upon constitutional requirements, they act contrary to the preferences of the citizenry. Some variation on this premise seems to drive most normative scholarship regarding judicial ...