SCOTUS on TV

March 9, 2010
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The Supreme Court of the United States hearings should be televised, justices should have term limits, and age doesn’t matter as long as the justice is healthy, say a majority of people polled about the SCOTUS.

Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind released results of its recent national poll of registered voters about the nation’s highest court. Three out of five voters say televising the hearings would be “good for democracy.” Nearly a quarter say airing the hearings would “undermine the authority and dignity of the court.”

Liberals, Democrats, independents, and younger voters are more likely to think televising the court would be a good development. Forty-five percent of respondents say putting the hearings of TV would be good because the judges would consider public opinion more, but 31 percent say that justices would consider the public opinion too much when making decisions.

Half of the people questioned say they’d watch the hearings if televised. I wonder if those are the same people that watch “Judge Judy” and other court shows.

More than half of those polled think the justices should be limited to a maximum term of 18 years instead of lifetime appointments. Nearly a third believe that being over 70 is too old to serve. Don’t tell that to the five justices on the bench who are older than 70. Those justices would be heartened to hear that nearly half think age doesn’t matter and the justice needs only to be healthy.

I’ll admit it – I enjoy watching “The People’s Court” and “Judge Judy” on TV. I get a kick out of the lawsuits and how the judges handle the parties in court. I’d also tune in to SCOTUS hearings if they were on TV, but probably not as often. Let’s face it, chances are those hearings won’t be as entertaining as Judge Judy. But unlike “Judge Judy,” the outcome of the SCOTUS hearing may have an actual impact my life.
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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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