Job Market Paper:

“Save This Honorable Court: Shaping Public Perceptions of the Supreme Court Off the Bench.” [current draft]


How Justices Shape Public Perceptions of the Supreme Court On and Off the Bench (Committee: Ryan J. Owens (Chair), Barry C. Burden, Eleanor Neff Powell, and Alexander M. Tahk)

My three-essay dissertation explores the relationships between public perceptions of the United States Supreme Court and justices’ activities on and off the bench. The first two essays focus on how justices influence both their personal reputations and public perceptions of the Court through public speeches. I demonstrate this with a randomized field experiment and a randomized survey experiment. In the field experiment, I assigned law students with reservations to a public speech by Justice Sotomayor to take a survey just before or just after the event. In a separate survey experiment using Amazon Mechanical Turk, I assigned individuals in a treatment group to read news coverage of the speech before responding to survey questions. Individuals who attended the speech as well as those indirectly exposed to the speech through a news article felt more favorable toward the justice, were more likely to perceive law as the primary determinant of judicial decisions, were less inclined to view justices as political, and expressed higher levels of institutional loyalty. In the third essay, I tested whether justices alter their opinion language in order to communicate with public audiences. The essay employed regression analysis, text analysis, and the development of a novel measure of opinion-level sensationalism (which captured the amount of emotional language in an opinion) to investigate this claim. In harmony with my expectations, I found pre-decision public interest in a case leads justices to write opinions with language that is more emotional.

Publications and Manuscripts Under Review:

Jack Edelson, Alexander Alduncin, Christopher Krewson, James A. Sieja, and Joseph Uscinski. 2017. “The Effect of Conspiratorial Thinking and Motivated Reasoning on Belief in Election Fraud.” Political Research Quarterly. (equal contribution)  [article]

Christopher Krewson and Ryan J. Owens. 2017. “Historical Development of Supreme Court Research.” In The Routledge Handbook of Judicial Behavior, eds. Robert Howard and Kirk Randazzo. Routledge. [book website]

Christopher N. Krewson and Ryan J. Owens. Forthcoming 2017. “The Concurring Behavior of Justice Scalia.” In The Conservative Revolution of Antonin Scalia, eds. David A. Schultz and Howard Schweber. Lexington Press.

Christopher N. Krewson, Alexander M. Tahk, and Ryan J. Owens. “Federal Circuit Court Non-Compliance with Supreme Court Jurisprudential Regimes.” (revise and resubmit)

Christopher N. Krewson, David Lassen, and Ryan J. Owens. “Twitter and the Supreme Court: An Examination of Congressional Tweets about the Supreme Court.” (revise and resubmit)

“Save This Honorable Court: Shaping Public Perceptions of the Supreme Court Off the Bench.” (under review)

Working Papers:

“Strategic Sensationalism: Understanding the Use of Emotional Appeals in Supreme Court Opinions.” [current draft]

“Politicized Confirmation Hearings and Public Views of the Court: Evidence from a Conjoint Experiment.” (with Ryan J. Owens)

Selected Presentations:

American Political Science Association Annual Meeting 2016, 2017

Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meeting 2015, 2016, 2017

Southern Political Science Association Annual Meeting 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Law and Society Association Annual Meeting 2014

American Politics Workshop, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2016, 2017