Honors College
 

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

5-2014

Abstract

Because the power of the Supreme Court rests on its acceptance as a legitimate institution by the people of the United States, understanding why people accept the Court is critical for maintaining the institution. This study explored the relationship between how media covers Supreme Court rulings and how public opinion of the Court changes afterward. A selection of cases, Griswold v. Connecticut, Roe v. Wade, Lawrence v. Texas, Hollingsworth v. Perry, and U.S. v. Windsor, articles from the New York Times, were analyzed to gauge whether the case and the Court were portrayed in either a political manner or in a manner that focused on the procedural aspects of the case and ruling. The analysis looked at the references to legal, procedural items like the Constitution, precedent, or other legal jargon or to the references of institutional conflict, interest groups, elections, political parties or figures, activists, or social and moral values. This analysis shows a trend toward more politicization of coverage of Court rulings, and, when compared to public opinion polls, show a correlation with lower public approval of the Court.

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