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Black and BlueHow African Americans Judge the U.S. Legal System$
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James L. Gibson and Michael Nelson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190865214

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190865214.001.0001

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Interracial Differences in the Legitimacy of the U.S. Supreme Court

Interracial Differences in the Legitimacy of the U.S. Supreme Court

(p.21) 2 Interracial Differences in the Legitimacy of the U.S. Supreme Court
Black and Blue

James L. Gibson

Michael J. Nelson

Oxford University Press

Despite a series of high-profile confrontations between blacks and the U.S. legal system, ranging from protests in Ferguson, Missouri to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to gut the Voting Rights Act, we know surprisingly little about interracial variation in support for the legal system. This chapter uses data from the Freedom and Tolerance Surveys (FATS) to describe how support for the U.S. Supreme Court differs by race and ethnicity. We provide evidence that whites, blacks, and Hispanics exhibit striking and systematic variation in their support for the U.S. Supreme Court and that these differences persist even after accounting for the most plausible alternative explanations for institutional support. We discuss how racialized institutional support for the U.S. Supreme Court may hinder its institutional efficacy.

Keywords:   legitimacy, diffuse support, Positivity Theory, U.S. Supreme Court, institutional support, specific support

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