The Foundations of Judicial Legitimacy: Experimental Evidence from across Contexts
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In functioning states, despite a lack of authoritative power, judiciaries are respected and their rulings are adhered to by their respective citizens. This is known as judicial legitimacy. Popular support of the court exists even when decisions go against public opinion because people believe that the court is an unbiased regulator of society and the rule of law. In order to be effective, it is imperative for states’ citizens to trust in their judicial institutions despite their lack of enforcement capabilities. However, this is not always the case. During the United States Civil Rights Movement in the early 1960s, the Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education, declared the racial segregation in schools unconstitutional. Several southern states ignored this decision, however, and it took other measures, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, outside the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction, to enforce the ruling. This study attempts to find out why the public views the judicial system within states as legitimate and apply it across Qatar and Benin contexts.
Barber, Jennifer; Höcker, Koen; Hoorwitz, Rachel; Taylor, Andrew; Walker, William (2017). The Foundations of Judicial Legitimacy: Experimental Evidence from across Contexts. Available electronically from