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The President and the Supreme Court: Going Public on Judicial Decisions from Washington to Trump, Paul M. Collins Jr. and Matthew Esbaugh-Soha

Reviewed by Alex Acs

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Since the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration, presidents have mentioned U.S. Supreme Court cases in an average of nearly 15 public statements per year. What do presidents aim to achieve in doing so? Are these attempts to grab the court’s attention and apply a form of soft pressure—that is, to put the president’s thumb on the scale of justice? Or are these good-faith efforts to guide the implementation of Supreme Court decisions, such as by prompting actors in the bureaucracy to take action and help them coordinate their efforts? Alternatively, are presidents less concerned about communicating with those in government and instead wish to draw attention to Supreme Court cases to communicate with voters and reinforce the president’s position on salient political issues?

These are the questions that motivate Paul M. Collins Jr. and Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha’s new book, The President and the Supreme Court. At a time when the Supreme Court is increasingly in the public spotlight, and the public’s trust in the judiciary has seen recent declines, it seems especially important to understand the motivations behind the public statemen

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