25 J.L. & Pol. 83 (2009)
Navigating Policy by the Stars: The Influence of Celebrity Entertainers on Federal Lawmaking

handle is hein.journals/jlp25 and id is 87 raw text is: Navigating Policy by the Stars: The Influence of Celebrity
Entertainers on Federal Lawmaking
Linda J. Demaine, JD, PhD*
ABSTRACT
Celebrity entertainers such as actors, musicians, and professional
athletes have become increasingly engaged in social advocacy during the
past few decades, publicly expressing their perspectives on core policy
issues including public health and safety, the environment, and foreign
policy. This Article presents the results of an empirical and qualitative
study of one particularly powerful form of celebrity advocacy-testimony
before the U.S. Congress. The study reveals that federal legislators have
invited hundreds of celebrity entertainers to testify at congressional
hearings on issues unrelated to their occupations and that the practice has
endured without careful reflection on the role that these persons should
play in the legislative process. Drawing upon these findings, the Article
considers the degree to which celebrity testimony is conducive to effective
federal lawmaking and the extent to which this form of advocacy aligns
with fundamental democratic ideals in American society. It concludes that
celebrity testimony is problematic in both regards but explains why the
practice is nonetheless likely to continue.
INTRODUCTION                                                            84
I. CHARACTERISTICS OF CELEBRITY ENTERTAINER CONGRESSIONAL
TESTIMONY                                                               90
A. Frequency of Celebrity Entertainer Testimony                      90
B. Categories of Celebrity Entertainer Witnesses                     93
C. Types of Hearings and Social Issues Addressed                     94
D. Committees Before Which Celebrity Entertainers Appeared           96
II. MOTIVATIONS UNDERLYING CELEBRITY ENTERTAINER TESTIMONY              97
* Professor of Law, Affiliate Professor of Psychology, and Director of Law and Psychology
Graduate Program, Arizona State University; American Psychological Association Congressional
Fellow, 2002-03. The author thanks Robert Cialdini, Aaron Fellmeth, and Steve Neuberg for
comments on earlier versions of the Article. For research assistance, she thanks Marianne Alcom,
Amanda Kucera, Cole Schlabach, Alyssa Staudinger, and especially, Erin Cunningham and Beth
DiFelice.

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