Essay On Supreme Court Polarization

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Courting Polarization: The Supreme Court’s Role in Increasing the Divide between the Parties Of the three branches of government, the Judiciary, with the Supreme Court at its zenith, is the most popular amongst the American public. According to Real Clear Politics, Congress has an average disapproval rating of 78.8% and an average approval rating of 13.9% from March 2nd to April 7th, while President Obama’s approval and disapproval ratings for March 20th to April 11th were 42.8% and 52.5 % respectively. Though currently at 46%, the Court’s approval rating has recently been as high as 62% in August 2000 and June 2001 (Gallup). Once considered to be above politics, the Supreme Court has seen a remarkable downward shift in its public approval ratings that has corresponded in a similar move for Congress and the president, though Gibson (2007)…show more content…
Although we know that legislators are more extreme than are their constituents (Bafumi and Herron 2010), scholars have identified a range of factors that might explain elite polarization but have failed to generate consensus. Redistricting is one of the most commonly cited explanations for polarization (Mann and Orstein 2006). However, this is hotly debated in the literature. Abramowitz, Alexander, and Gunning (2006) argue the polarization has no effect, as the elections for House positions are not becoming less competitive. Carson et al. (2007) find that redistricting has significant but “modest” effects on incumbents’ stances. Theriault’s (2006) analysis emphasizes that redistricting, political sorting, and ideological migration only explain close to 25% of polarization in the House and just five percent in the Senate. McCarty, Poole, and Rosenthal (2009) find almost no evidence of polarization being caused by gerrymandering. Masket, Winburn, and Wright (2012) conclude that redistricting has minimal
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