Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This thesis presents an analysis of 10 United States Supreme Court opinions between 1989 and 1994, and uncovers the normative assumptions which pervade and impoverish the Court's discourse on poverty. Positing two research questions, this thesis investigates the possible existence of a trend in the Court's written opinons on poverty. The statistical tests and thematic analysis depict two trends in the Court's rhetorical construction of its poverty opinions. First, the Court is more likely to label the poor petitioner as undeserving and morally deviant as opposed to deserving of preferential treatment. Second, the Court is more likely to invoke pleas of helplessness than attempt to empower itself when ruling on poverty issues.
Bellus, Paul G., "The Rhetoric of Poverty and Supreme Court Discourse: A Content Analysis of Selected Supreme Court Opinions from 1989-1994" (1995). Student Work. 2267.