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Descriptive representation and public support for Supreme Court nominees

Jaclyn Kaslovsky, Jon C. Rogowski and Andrew R. Stone

Political Science Research and Methods, 2021, vol. 9, issue 3, 583-598

Abstract: Though the demographic characteristics of judicial nominees in the United States have gained increased political attention in recent years, relatively little is known about how they affect public opinion toward judicial nominees and courts. We evaluate these relationships in the context of race and gender using a conjoint experiment conducted during a recent vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. We find consistent evidence that Americans are more supportive of coracial nominees, particularly among white Republicans and Black Democrats, but no evidence of a similar effect on the basis of gender. Our results have important implications for theories of descriptive representation and suggest limits to its use as a means for generating political support for judicial nominees.

Date: 2021
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