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. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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