Conventional wisdom suggests that judicial legitimacy should be relatively unaffected by satisfaction with the ideological direction of judicial policy making. Recent studies challenge this assertion. The key to resolving this conundrum is estimating individual-level satisfaction with the ideological direction of judicial policy making reliably and validly. We examine the accuracy of several common measures of the concept. We find that 40% of the respondents repudiate their own scores on these measures. With this much systematic measurement error in such an important independent variable, the question of whether the Supreme Court’s institutional legitimacy is conditional on ideological agreement with its decisions must be reexamined.
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