The Judiciary and Public Support:Public Attitudes toward the Judicial System in Taiwan
In a democracy, any given governmental branch needs public support for the fundamentals of institutional legitimacy, and the judiciary is no exception. This study examines the popular views and evaluations of the judicial system in Taiwan. I employ the “2003 Taiwan Election and Democratization Study: Democratization and Political Transition” (TEDS 2003) survey date to assess the public’s attitudes toward courts and other political institutions, and thereupon the factors influencing public support for the judicial system. Methodologically, the judicial evaluations are classified into four factors—“confidence in courts,” “impartial prosecutions,” “fair trials,” and “judicial independence.” The findings reveal that, compared with other political institutions, popular confidence in courts is relatively high, with approximately 70 percent of the people holding positive evaluations. The results also confirm that the variables of age, educational attainment, political knowledge and political efficacy exert significant effects on the three public views of the judiciary, i.e., confidence in the courts, impartial prosecutions, and fair trials. In addition, the variables of Taiwanese-Chinese consciousness, unification-independence preference, and party identification have considerable influences on judicial independence.