Christopher Shortell

Date of Award

Fall 10-17-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Political Science


Political Science

Physical Description

1 online resource (iii, 93 pages)


Online social networks -- United States, Mass media and public opinion -- United States, Same-sex marriage -- Law and legislation -- United States -- Public opinion, Gay rights -- United States -- Public opinion




When the Supreme Court grants new rights, public awareness is a crucial part of enforcement. Gerald N. Rosenberg and Michael J. Klarman famously criticized minority rights organizations for attempting to gain new rights through the judiciary. The crux of their argument relied heavily on the American media's scanty coverage of Court issues and subsequent low public awareness of Court cases. Using the 2013 United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry rulings as a case study, I suggest that the media environment has changed so much since Rosenberg and Klarman were writing that their theories warrant reconsideration. Minority rights groups now have access to social media, a potentially powerful tool with which to educate the public about the Supreme Court and new rights granted by the Court.

Persistent Identifier