In the long run, the Supreme Court leads public opinion on controversial issues

Some Americans will argue the rulings of the Supreme Court help to shape and form the public’s opinion and acceptance of certain issues, while others will quickly debate the Supreme Court is not an adequate representation of the American public as a whole.

The Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court of the United States of American is the highest federal court within the United States. Established in 1789 in the United States Constitution, the Supreme Court hears cases involving federal issues and also has jurisdiction over smaller cases within the legal system. The Supreme Court is comprised of one chief justice and eight associate justices, all of whom are nominated by the President and then confirmed by the United States Senate. Justices on the Supreme Court have life tenure unless they are impeached, retire and resign.

How does the Supreme Court Shape Public Policy?

The Supreme Court has had its hand in shaping the American political system for decades. Some of the biggest decisions the Supreme Court has ruled upon are Roe. V. Wade in 1973 which has been said to empower women and offer women dignity and their rightful place in American society. Another large decision the Supreme Court ruled upon was Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, in which the Supreme Court banned state laws which mandated racial segregation and has been said to be what launched the civil rights movement.

While there is little doubt these momentous decisions largely impacted America and changed the course of American history, it can be debated as to how much they reflect the opinions of the general public. America is still largely divided upon the topic of abortion, and sadly, racism still exists today in places around the country. More recently, the American public has also become divided on critical topics such as the death penalty and gay rights.

The Supreme Court was established in large to make the tough calls and decisions which could easily destroy and impact countless lives. The Supreme Court Justices always take two things into consideration when considering how to rule:


1. individual cases
2. public opinion

The Supreme Court does an excellent job of looking at each case individually instead of basis it entirely upon the past. Doing an outstanding job of always maintaining integrity as well as adhering to the American Constitution, the Supreme Court looks at the facts at hand before ever entering into any ruling. Secondly, the Supreme Court does take into consideration public opinion and outcry when making its decision. While this is not the only determining factor, the Supreme Court is well aware of who it is serving and knows if the vast majority is not in favor of something it does garner a long hard look and analysis.


The Supreme Court ultimately will rule however they find to be most fitting and morally right. In spite of potentially suffering from short-term backlash after a hard fought decision, the American public opinion does tend to align with that of the position taken by the Supreme Court. Due to this fact, the Supreme Court could in fact continue to drastically alter and shape the political arena within the United States.

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