Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-14-2015

Faculty Advisor(s)

David Shafie


High profile Supreme Court cases have become increasingly commonplace, particularly with the Citizens United court decision granting unprecedented rights to corporations. Many in the media have decried these as examples of increasing “judicial activism”. This trend has trickled down to the state supreme courts as justices have increasingly played a more active role in developing policy. Gay marriage has become legalized in numerous states due to this trend. While public sentiment is unlikely to affect the appointed Supreme Court, it could have a substantial impact on state judicial elections.

This paper will specifically be looking at judicial elections in Kentucky. This paper will examine public opinion towards the role of the court and how it influences their views on how the judiciary is chosen, whether through appointment or election.

If ordinary voters retain the opinion of mass media, they’re more likely to also decry the trend in “judicial activism”. How will this affect their voting patterns? This paper posits that voters who disagree with the notion that supreme court judges have a great deal of leeway in their decisions when they claim to be “interpreting” the Constitution are more likely to favor retaining statewide judicial elections.


Presented at the Spring 2015 Student Research Day at Chapman University.