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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  1. Hey 2 psychs is never enough, since it is statistically unlikely that three will ever agree on anything! New study admits this pseudo science is about as scientifically valid as astrology ... done by via fortune cookie ....John Ioannidis, professor of health research and policy at Stanford University, said the study was impressive and that its results had been eagerly awaited by the scientific community. “Sadly, the picture it paints - a 64% failure rate even among papers published in the best journals in the field - is not very nice about the current status of psychological science in general, and for fields like social psychology it is just devastating,” he said. http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/27/study-delivers-bleak-verdict-on-validity-of-psychology-experiment-results

  2. Indianapolis Bar Association President John Trimble and I are on the same page, but it is a very large page with plenty of room for others to join us. As my final Res Gestae article will express in more detail in a few days, the Great Recession hastened a fundamental and permanent sea change for the global legal service profession. Every state bar is facing the same existential questions that thrust the medical profession into national healthcare reform debates. The bench, bar, and law schools must comprehensively reconsider how we define the practice of law and what it means to access justice. If the three principals of the legal service profession do not recast the vision of their roles and responsibilities soon, the marketplace will dictate those roles and responsibilities without regard for the public interests that the legal profession professes to serve.

  3. I have met some highly placed bureaucrats who vehemently disagree, Mr. Smith. This is not your father's time in America. Some ideas are just too politically incorrect too allow spoken, says those who watch over us for the good of their concept of order.

  4. Lets talk about this without forgetting that Lawyers, too, have FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND ASSOCIATION

  5. Baer filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit on April 30 2015. When will this be decided? How many more appeals does this guy have? Unbelievable this is dragging on like this.

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