Breyer Who? Two Thirds of Americans Cannot Name A Single Sitting Justice

They may be Supreme but they are also apparently Supremely forgettable. Two-thirds of Americans polled cannot name a single sitting Supreme Court justice. Of the relatively few who can remember a name it is that of the Chief Justice John Roberts. The least well known is Justice Stephen Breyer. Only one percent could remember them all.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas tied for second place with a measly sixteen percent.

Then follows Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg (13 percent), Sonia Sotomayor (13 percent), Anthony Kennedy (10 percent), Samuel Alito (5 percent), Elena Kagan (4 percent), and Stephen Breyer, (3 percent).

Of course, roughly half of people polled last year could not name a single GOP candidate for president. Forty one percent cannot name the current vice president of the United States.

We do even worse on international questions or trying to define the bill of rights.

There is a serious problem in this country, as I have previously discussed, with the lack of civics training in schools. It is a dangerous thing for citizens to be not just ignorant but detached from their political system. All governments love the uninformed and passive citizen but it makes for a dangerous void in accountability in this country.

Unfortunately, we are proving de Tocqueville correct in saying that “in a democracy, the people get the government they deserve.

Source: ABA Journal

49 thoughts on “Breyer Who? Two Thirds of Americans Cannot Name A Single Sitting Justice”

  1. ” It is a dangerous thing for citizens to be not just ignorant but detached from their political system.”

    Which is why I believe the right to vote ought to be elevated from a “right” to a “privilege.”

    And the way to gain the privilege to vote would be to pass a very basic written test. No pass, no vote.

    It cannot possibly be in any nation’s best interest, to allow the seriously ignorant to cancel out those who bother to pay attention to the issues.

  2. The law makers ( breakers ) are a joke, they either never change a law or
    changed it all the time , at their wimp.

  3. I want faster churn everywhere. The world is moving faster now in relation to our lifetimes. As one points out the generation coming out of college do lots of important things in new ways compared to us.
    They don’t read much, they search; they discuss on line, they vote with their voices on line, etc.
    The justice churn must go faster to accomodate this need for minds adapted to current conditions.

  4. GeneH,

    I would shorten the term to fifteen years and impose an election procedure as follows.

    The current justices would draw lots among the five oldest, the loser will retire 2 years after. The replacement justice will be elected by the state bar associations, having electoral votes in proportion to their populations. Concurrently with that a new justice to begin the expansion to 19 justices will be elected using the same procedure by the bar sssociations as in an electoral college.

    All elected judges will serve a max of fifteen years on the bench. Replacement by the above electoral procedure.

    The current members will be replaced, one by one, at intervals of 2 years using the lottery among the five eldest. When the curent members are retired after 18 years the new system will be in force. We wiil then have 17 justices with terms of 15 years. Completion to reach full count will take an additional 4 years to elect two additional justices.

    Remuneration, perks, and bounds on political activity by wives and children should be scheduled for investigation by a joint committee from bar associations.

    This system makes the court impervious to presidential and congressional preferences. It makes it impervious to short term social, economic etc effects.
    It does not guard against corporate domination through influence on lawyers and thus bar associations.

    Will we be giving the keys to heaven to be held by Satan’s imps?

    We will have a renewable Court. And a new system to prove against the old one with bought justices.

  5. Elaine,
    Those smart wealthyRepublicans like Romney, who didn’t realize it would not be a good idea to put the dog on top of the car!

  6. rafflaw,

    Jim’s a teacher and he doesn’t know the word “bodes.”



    Are you equating poor with ignorant and unintelligent? There are plenty of members of the Republican party who are college educated–some of whom serve in Congress–who think the Earth is less than ten thousand years old and that dinosaurs and humans co-existed. Some even think a woman can’t get pregnant if she’s raped. Is that party that you hold up to us as the brain trust of this country?

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