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. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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