Gibson published in the American Journal of Political Science for "Losing Legitimacy"

Professor James Gibson's new article, "Losing legitimacy: The Challenges of the Dobbs Ruling to Conventional Legitimacy Theory" has been published in the American Journal of Political Science. Read the article here.


Extant research has established that displeasure with a Supreme Court ruling typically has negligible consequences for institutional support, largely because, as legitimacy theory's positivity bias explains, judicial decisions are invariably delivered with the accoutrements of legitimizing symbols. The Court's ruling in Dobbs, abrogating a federal constitutional right to abortion services, may challenge legitimacy theory because displeasure with the ruling seems so widespread and intense. This research aims to determine whether the ruling lessened the Court's legitimacy. The general conclusion is that Dobbs produced a sizeable dent in institutional support, perhaps to an unprecedented degree, in part because abortion attitudes for many are infused with moral content and in part owing to the Court's substantial tilt to the right since 2020. Indeed, the Court's legitimacy may be at greater risk today than at any time since Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1930s attack on the institution.