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. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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