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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