Few studies have examined the impact of the descriptive representation of Latinos on evaluations of the judiciary. This study helps to fill that gap by examining the effect of the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor on Latinos’ and Anglos’ evaluations of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Using repeated measures from surveys conducted in Texas in 2006 and 2011, we use ordered logit analysis to estimate the impact of the Sotomayor appointment on approval of the U.S. Supreme Court among Latinos and Anglos.
At all levels of political knowledge, Latinos were more aware of the Sotomayor appointment than Anglos. Moreover, Latinos’ approval of the Court increased dramatically after the appointment, while Anglos’ approval was unchanged.
We find a political empowerment effect among Latinos, but find no evidence that Anglos considered the appointment a threat. Additionally, given that the Latinos in our sample are overwhelmingly of Mexican origin and Justice Sotomayor is Puerto Rican, we find evidence of pan-ethnic effects.
Social Science Quarterly