On the Legitimacy of National High Courts Journal Article uri icon



  • The purpose of this research is to examine theories of diffuse support and institutional legitimacy by testing hypotheses about the interrelationships among the salience of courts, satisfaction with court outputs, and diffuse support for national high courts. Like our predecessors, we are constrained by essentially cross-sectional data; unlike them, we analyze mass attitudes toward high courts in eighteen countries. Because our sample includes many countries with newly formed high courts, our cross-sectional data support several longitudinal inferences, using the age of the judicial institution as an independent variable. We discover that the U.S. Supreme Court is not unique in the esteem in which it is held and, like other courts, it profits from a tendency of people to credit it for pleasing decisions but not to penalize it for displeasing ones. Generally, older courts more successfully link specific and diffuse support, most likely due to satisfying successive, nonoverlapping constituencies.

publication date

  • June 1, 1998

Date in CU Experts

  • January 31, 2017 9:49 AM

Full Author List

  • Gibson JL; Caldeira GA; Baird VA

author count

  • 3

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0003-0554

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1537-5943

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 343

end page

  • 358


  • 92


  • 2