Who are the justices again?

August 21, 2012
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A recent poll survey has found only 34 percent of Americans can name at least one U.S. Supreme Court justice. I would imagine the same could be said for Indiana’s justices.

Twenty percent of respondents could name Chief Justice John Roberts; 16 percent could name Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas; Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor came in at 13 percent; Anthony Kennedy at 10 percent; Samuel Alito at 5 percent and Elena Kagan at 4 percent.

Roberts’ name was often mentioned in the health care ruling this year, so that may explain why he was named the most. I’m surprised that Clarence Thomas wasn’t named by more people. Back in the early 1990s, I remember his name often being mentioned in the news, thanks to the controversy with Anita Hill during his confirmation process. Maybe the respondents forgot about that.

The survey highlights how little people pay attention to the Supreme Court, except when major decisions are handed down on health care and immigration. But even then, the focus is more on the decision than the people behind the decision. The fact cameras aren’t allowed in the court and the justices lead fairly low-profile lives also lends to the mystery of the court.

The same could be said for Indiana’s justices. Before I joined the staff of this newspaper, I would not have been able to name any members of our high court. When the Barnes ruling came down last year, Justice Steven David’s name became associated with the ruling, only because he was the authoring justice. As far as I can recall, none of the protestors who rallied against the decision called out the other members of the majority for the decision.

Do you think Americans should be able to name all the justices, or at least be able to name several? Is it important that the justices are in the public eye or is it best they keep low profiles?
 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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