Heard through the Marble

Yesterday, I attended oral argument in the Supreme Court’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case. This was particularly exciting for me, as I have argued in my research that concerns about the Court’s public perception and legitimacy, particularly in the context of intense public interest, may be consequential for the Court’s decision-making. …

In describing the rather momentous change in public opinion that has taken place over the past twenty years, Chief Justice Roberts asked, “I suppose the sea change [in public opinion] has a lot to do with the political force and effectiveness of people representing, supporting your side of the case?”

An exchange followed, and what it suggests both that the Court is well aware of significant changes in public opinion about same-sex marriage but also that the justices (at least the Chief Justice) are skeptical of what these rapid changes in opinion reveal about people’s values and true beliefs. (It sounds like they may have been reading some political science research on source cues, framing, and media effects!) [cont.]

Tom Clark (Emory University), The Monkey Cage

Recent polls: Marriage