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Evolving standards of decency public opinion, the death penalty, and the Supreme Court /

by 1976- Harris, Bryan Joel

Abstract (Summary)
This is an inquiry into the influence of public opinion on a case before the Supreme Court of the United States. First, a framework of public opinion is established. Next, the history of the death penalty before the Court and the role that public opinion has played in the evolution of death penalty jurisprudence is examined. The study then analyzes the influence of public opinion on the Court. Subsequent is an examination of Atkins v. Virginia, a recent case before the Supreme Court where public opinion played a major role. The author applies five commonly used classifications of public opinion aggregation, majoritarian, elite, group, and fiction, to the Court’s use of public opinion and concludes that the Supreme Court inconsistently makes use of the concept of public opinion. The author concludes that members of the Court will cite public opinion as a reason to further the justice’s personal ideas.
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School:The University of Georgia

School Location:USA - Georgia

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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