Do state supreme courts act impartially or are they swayed by public opinion? Do judicial elections influence judge behavior? To date these questions have received little direct attention due to the absence of comparable public opinion data in states and obstacles to collecting data necessary for comprehensive analysis of state supreme court outcomes. Advances in measurement, data archiving, and methodology now allow for consideration of the link between public opinion and judicial outcomes in the American states. The analysis presented considers public opinion's influence on the composition of courts (indirect effects) and its influence on judge votes in capital punishment cases (direct effects). In elective state supreme courts, public support for capital punishment influences the ideological composition of those courts and judge willingness to uphold death sentences. Notably, public support for capital punishment has no measurable effect on nonelective state supreme courts. On the highly salient issue of the death penalty, mass opinion and the institution of electing judges systematically influence court composition and judge behavior.