Poll shows what Americans think of U.S. Supreme Court

September 23, 2010
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We’ve had two United States Supreme Court justices confirmed recently, but more than 40 percent of Americans say they aren’t knowledgeable about how justices are confirmed.

And of those who are knowledgeable, the majority is made up of older men.

The Harris Interactive poll – in which 2,775 adults were surveyed online in August on the Supreme Court – also shows that more than 80 percent believe the nominees should be required to answer questions on specific issues; 63 percent think they should answer how they would vote in specific court cases, both past and hypothetical; and a little more than half want nominees to answer questions about their personal lives.

Older Americans and Republicans are more likely to want nominees to answer these questions during the confirmation process.

Nearly 70 percent of respondents said the high court is a crucial governing body for the success of the nation, but they varied on the type of justices they’d like to see on the bench. Half want someone who keeps their personal opinions of “right” and “wrong” to themselves and makes decisions based on the letter of the law and the Constitution; 32 percent want an independent thinker who takes modern circumstances into account; and 6 percent said they want someone who uses their own values to guide their decisions. Eleven percent weren’t sure what type of person they’d want on the court.

Are we as a public just uninterested in what happens in our nation’s highest court because it’s so far removed from our daily lives we don’t think about it? You don’t see highlights of arguments on the nightly news and the justices don’t often speak to the media. Local media rarely covers Supreme Court rulings, nationally or locally. Network news, which is more likely to cover the Supreme Court, has seen a decline in viewers. Plus, mostly older people watch network news. That may account for the discrepancy in younger people knowing about the confirmation process.

Could this lack of exposure be the problem or do we just not care?

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  1. Video pen? Nice work, "JW"! Let this be a lesson and a caution to all disgruntled ex-spouses (or soon-to-be ex-spouses) . . . you may think that altercation is going to get you some satisfaction . . . it will not.

  2. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

  3. wow is this a bunch of bs! i know the facts!

  4. MCBA .... time for a new release about your entire membership (or is it just the alter ego) being "saddened and disappointed" in the failure to lynch a police officer protecting himself in the line of duty. But this time against Eric Holder and the Federal Bureau of Investigation: "WASHINGTON — Justice Department lawyers will recommend that no civil rights charges be brought against the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo., after an F.B.I. investigation found no evidence to support charges, law enforcement officials said Wednesday." http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/22/us/justice-department-ferguson-civil-rights-darren-wilson.html?ref=us&_r=0

  5. Dr wail asfour lives 3 hours from the hospital,where if he gets an emergency at least he needs three hours,while even if he is on call he should be in a location where it gives him max 10 minutes to be beside the patient,they get paid double on their on call days ,where look how they handle it,so if the death of the patient occurs on weekend and these doctors still repeat same pattern such issue should be raised,they should be closer to the patient.on other hand if all the death occured on the absence of the Dr and the nurses handle it,the nurses should get trained how to function appearntly they not that good,if the Dr lives 3 hours far from the hospital on his call days he should sleep in the hospital

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