Americans trust TV judges more than real ones

May 9, 2013
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Based on numbers released by Reader’s Digest Tuesday, Americans polled by the company have more faith and trust in Judge Judy that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Reader’s Digest issued a press release touting the “100 Most Trusted People in America.” The complete results of the poll aren’t available until May 14. The release includes interesting figures, but the one that’s most relevant for us is how much trust Americans place in TV judges as compared to the nation’s Supreme Court justices.

Judge Judith Sheindlin, otherwise known as Judge Judy, is the most trusted judge in America, based on these respondents’ answers. Those polled were asked to rank each name on a list of more than 200 people on how trustworthy they thought each individual is. She topped all of the Supreme Court justices, earning her a score of 51 percent. Judge Joe Brown came in at 48 percent. The release doesn’t say how the other TV judges (such as my favorite, Judge Marilyn Milian of “The People’s Court”) or the U.S. justices fared.

The release doesn’t explain why some people scored as they did, including the judges. My guess is that the average American knows more about Judge Judy than our Supreme Court justices, thanks to her show coming into his or her home daily. The problems and cases that come before the TV judges are less complicated than those our Supreme Court justices deal with. Most people will be able to understand what’s going on in a dog bite case but perhaps don’t know enough (or don’t care enough) to follow a case involving campaign contributions or patents on seeds.

One might use this poll as a jumping off point to argue for televising oral arguments of the U.S. Supreme Court. Granted, the number of people who watch the arguments would be small, and news stations likely won’t pick up on the arguments (with the exceptions of high-profile cases like health care and same-sex marriage). But at least the option is there for those who want to know what goes on in D.C. Reading a transcript of the arguments later just doesn’t have the same effect.
 

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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