Follow the Court: Examining Judicial Homestyle Through Extrajudicial Communications on State Court Twitter

Cayleb Bryant Stives, University of Texas at El Paso


While institutional legitimacy can arise from multiple sources, much of the theorizing about courts has been developed for the federal judiciary, often specifically the US Supreme Court. My research recognizes that the connection between the public and judges on state courts is significantly more nuanced, and in many instances, direct. Notably, social networking sites like Twitter have quickly become a favored communication platform for fostering personal connections between political elites and their intended audiences. It is within these parasocial relationships I argue that favorable perceptions can be reinforced, bolstering the legitimacy of political actors and the institutions they represent. This work utilizes data gathered through Twitter’s public API to ascertain if (and how) judges utilize “homestyle” in their tweets, and if they experience increased engagement as a result. Tweets are classified into one of two groups based on whether they are meant to convey a judges’ personal homestyle to their respective audience. Through this dichotomy we can understand the tweet as either one with the goal of enhancing legitimacy or primarily being for election purposes. My findings indicate that tweet engagement was positively impacted with the most strength when judges use neutral tones with their homestyle. The central contribution of this work is to better our understanding of the degree to which judges may be able to utilize both political and apolitical campaign strategies to increase their individual and institutional support.

Subject Area

Political science|Communication|Judaic studies|Web Studies

Recommended Citation

Stives, Cayleb Bryant, "Follow the Court: Examining Judicial Homestyle Through Extrajudicial Communications on State Court Twitter" (2023). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI30634715.