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. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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