The Worst Supreme Court Decisions Ever! An Experimental Investigation of Agreement When the Supreme Court has Erred

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Hyperbole is the common response in the wake of any Supreme Court decision, but which cases have a lasting negative impression and why? This work seeks to clarify which rulings of the Court cause consternation among several different audiences. Through an experimental framework I conduct an examination of reactions to rulings in controversial cases among political scientists, legal scholars, and the public. I discover that there are some commonalities among the respondents, but also significant disagreement along issue areas, particularly cases decided based on economic property rights. Additionally I observe that partisan ideology has little impact on the perception of historic decisions, but in contemporary rulings the opposite is discovered. This finding suggests that time serves to mitigate partisan bias in evaluating the Supreme Court. Ultimately this work details information concerned with responses to previous Court decisions, but also provides context clues for predicting various reactions to future controversial rulings.


New Orleans, LA

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