Political Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

Title

Who's on the Bench? The Impact of Latino Descriptive Representation on U.S. Supreme Court Approval Among Latinos and Anglos

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-2017

Abstract

Objectives

Few studies have examined the impact of the descriptive representation of Latinos on evaluations of the judiciary. This study helps to fill that gap by examining the effect of the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor on Latinos’ and Anglos’ evaluations of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Methods

Using repeated measures from surveys conducted in Texas in 2006 and 2011, we use ordered logit analysis to estimate the impact of the Sotomayor appointment on approval of the U.S. Supreme Court among Latinos and Anglos.

Results

At all levels of political knowledge, Latinos were more aware of the Sotomayor appointment than Anglos. Moreover, Latinos’ approval of the Court increased dramatically after the appointment, while Anglos’ approval was unchanged.

Conclusions

We find a political empowerment effect among Latinos, but find no evidence that Anglos considered the appointment a threat. Additionally, given that the Latinos in our sample are overwhelmingly of Mexican origin and Justice Sotomayor is Puerto Rican, we find evidence of pan-ethnic effects.

Comments

© 2016 by the Southwestern Social Science Association

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/share/CP8XEK4PQX3BRV9NWFDX?target=10.1111/ssqu.12351

Publication Title

Social Science Quarterly

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1111/ssqu.12351

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