Poll: Ten Percent of College Graduates Believe Judge Judy Is On The Supreme Court

220px-Judge_Judy_next_to_paintingWe will occasionally have polls that leave me deeply depressed and the recent poll, conducted by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, is such a case. When college graduates were asked, ten percent said that they believe Judith Sheindlin, aka “Judge Judy,” serves on the Supreme Court. That’s right, Judge Judy.

I am admittedly not a fan of faux television judges who, in my view, degrade our profession and trivialize the legal process. (here and here). Judge Judy and other faux judges caricature the legal system and misrepresent how conflicts are legally addressed. They use people as if they were circus animals performing for the entertainment of the public. The fact that anyone would even confuse Judge Judy with a real jurist is incredibly depressing. It has about as much basis as believing Judge Dredd is on the Supreme Court. However, CNN and other networks routinely ask her to comment on legal issues as if she were anything other than an entertainer. The merging of law and entertainment does not produce some hybrid. It simply produces entertainment like an dominant social gene.

Joe LewisFor the record, Judge Judy was once an actual judge.  In 1982 Mayor Ed Koch appointed her as a judge, first in criminal court, then later as Manhattan‘s supervising family court judge in 1986.  However, that is about as relevant as saying that Joe Lewis (left)  was once a real police officer before becoming a circus clown cop.

440px-Supreme_Court_US_2010This is not to say that Justices cannot sometimes act like Judge Judy in departing from the record or holding forth on their views of issues beyond the immediate legal question. However, the last time I checked, Judge Judy did not make it into the annual Court portrait.

The survey also found that only 28.4% of college graduates correctly identify the father of the Constitution as James Madison. Some 40% of college graduates appear unaware that Congress has the power to declare war.

Source: CNN

46 thoughts on “Poll: Ten Percent of College Graduates Believe Judge Judy Is On The Supreme Court

  1. This is the result of several factors. First of which being the hijacking of the education system by the Federal government as well as a far left-wing agenda group.

    Common Core, AP Program, SAT all come from the same source. The New School in NYC. If one actually follows up and reads about the programs and its creators, owners and operators, they will find that the people behind those programs which are ingrained into our education system on a national level, are all very, very far left-wing.

    At the risk of being accused of sounding like a paranoid tinfoil right-wing radical, I would say that our childrens education is completely in the hands of absolute Marxists. I say that not with hyperbole, but rather rooted in actual fact. If only the nation really knew the truth about it. The right especially would have a rightful fit.

    The Federal government meanwhile, has further watered down our education system with standardized testing and agenda based programs that if spoken of, will be an affront to the political correctness of social justice imbeciles.

    On a related note, I found this to be equally depressing.


    The state of our union is … dumber:
    How the linguistic standard of the presidential address has declined

    Using the Flesch-Kincaid readability test the Guardian has tracked the reading level of every State of the Union

  2. The results of this survey don’t surprise me at all. I truly believe that we are living at a time of great ignorance and imbecility. For further evidence of this, just look at some of the characters currently starring in the comedy show otherwise known as the presidential campaign.

  3. Uhhh…anybody remember the Tonight Show’s “Jay Walking”?

    Even with a PhD or being a legit professor….

    Ah yes, the result of the 70s-80s letting children find themselves …don’t force values….all truth is truth for the individual. Judy is a Supreme Court Justice…she’s on tv….that’s my truth…ergo that must be true. I know the origins of the universe and that’s my truth and you have yours…can’t we just get along?

    How’s that working for us as a country?

    It’s domestic unrest, not domestic terrorism. ISIS isn’t Islamic, it’s a JV team.

    Who cares who Jefferson, Einstein, Enola Gay are! Now David Bowie? That’s a different story.

    Oh well, back to my history documentary…”The Shannara Chronicles”.

  4. JT–what’s with you? Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? You, incredulously ask, why would anyone confuse Judge Judy with a real jurist, as she is nothing more than an entertainer? Really? You’ve got to be kidding. While you may be disgusted and appalled that ten percent of college grads believe that she is on the Supreme Court, that is a completely separate and distinct issue from this individual’s legal resume and/or her credentials. A resume, JT, which is quite impressive, by any standards. Judge Judy, the entertainer, as you call her, has been an attorney for more than 50 years, serving as a corporate attorney, a prosecutor in family court– where she was, ultimately, named as Manhattan’s supervising family court judge–not to mention her time spent as a judge in criminal court. CNN and other networks routinely ask her to comment on legal issues as if she were anything other than an entertainer? Although you may object to shows that present and solve legal matters, all in a fifteen-minute time span, which is, undoubtedly, your right and privilege, you ought to hate the game, JT, not the player. Stooping to the level of denigrating her abilities, knowledge, education, expertise, wisdom and insight–honed and perfected over a 50-year period–is unfair, unreasonable and, quite frankly, smacks of sexism. We have a dolt in the White House who, purportedly, attended Harvard Law School. He’s considered the venerated leader of the free world–the faux Constitutional law expert and renown community organizer–and he doesn’t have a fraction of the background or experience that she possesses. Under normal circumstances, his lack of legal experience would exclude him from ever being considered for most legal positions, not to mention the job of TV judge. Despite this very obvious lack of gainful employment in the legal field, I sincerely doubt that you would ever dare to imply that he was incapable of speaking to various legal issues on television or that he was some lowly entertainer. Various factors, I suspect, come into play for the difference in treatment. Different standards for different folks, eh? Criticize one, nothing happens; criticize the other, expect to get audited.

  5. Thank you BamBam. For bamming some points here that I was not aware of. I only saw Judge Judy as I change channels with my front paw. I had no idea she was a real lawyer and had some judicial experience. JT: come clean. If you want to call someone a nitwit then divulge the nature of the nit in the wit. It is kind of like all those terrible secrets which Hillary supposedly passed along to the world in her private email server.
    JT: Have you ever tried a felony jury trial? Ever picked a jury?

    Folks, we have nine Supreme Court Justices and I believe that none have ever represented a defendant in a felony jury trial; only one has tried a jury trial, civil or criminal, as an attorney, and one tried some cases as a district court judge. All nine went to Harvard or Yale and none are probably as experienced as judge Judy in actual trial work.

    This is not to say that college graduates in America are all that bright. What percentage could name five of nine on the Supreme Court? One percent?

    Good ol boys from LSU. Went in dumb, come out dumb too, hustlin round Atlanta in their alligator shoes.

  6. Yeah, I think you’re not being fair to Judge Judy since you didn’t mention in your piece she really has served as a real judge and has quite an extensive background in court which gives her an expertise far beyond most court pundits.

    You leave my Judge Judy alone Jonathan Turley!

  7. Aren’t trial courts in New York called “Supreme” Courts with the Court of Appeals as the state’s highest appellate court?

  8. Yep. I’m not sure if family court judges have a special designation, but, in NY, trial judges are SCJ’s.

    In Washington, DC, Supreme Court Justices are a pretty big deal. In New York, though, they’re pretty common. That’s the case because in New York the “Supreme Court” is the trial court, whereas the state’s highest court is the “Court of Appeals.”

    Orin Kerr, Volokh Conspiracy

  9. This is a somewhat elitist attitude. Anyone can be a SC justice. The Constitution only requires you to be a citizen. Judge Judy probably fits that.

  10. I cannot remember his name, but the first male Judge Judy was selected to give the commencement speech at the Arizona State University Law School. The Law School squashed it.

  11. Only ten percent, well things are improving. She should endorse a GOP candidate, Rubio? Rubio/Judge Judy ticket; why not? It’s no more bizarre than Trump/Palin or Cruz/Bachman(wait for it).

  12. With all of the information we expect people to assimilate these days it does not surprise me that college graduates could make this mistake. There just isn’t enough time to teach people everything in a reasonable amount of time. If this is not your area of study and you have little interest in politics or the judicial system, then who cares who the supreme court justices are? I’m sure there are plenty of things that I should know, but I just don’t because I don’t have any desire to. It is actually funny watching the awards shows on television; I have no idea who most of the nominies are or anything about what they do. I just really don’t care about it. Why should I know? On the flip side, I know things that 99% of people have no clue about. It is far more important for me to know information about what I do for a living than to know irrelevant information that has nothing to do with me. That being said, I still consider myself an intelligent rational person with a lot of common sense and broad breadth of knowledge. For instance, did you know there are only two colors of chicken eggs? White and blue! How many of you knew that? Brown eggs are just white eggs with a brown coating. The actual color is determined by the color of the inside of the shell.

  13. A funny novel by Christopher Buckley, “Supreme Courtship,” addresses this very situation, with some references to inside ball (including an obscure nod to Casey at the Bat).

  14. KC, your right, let’s just not educate people at all; they will be smarter that way. It works wonders in the Middle East.

  15. I’m not surprised by this at all. ISI conducted a civics survey and “the average score for all 2,508 Americans taking the following test was 49%; college educators scored 55%.” You can view how the results were broken down here:
    http://www.americancivicliteracy.org/2008/summary_summary.htmlwith specific findings on college student’s performance.

    “Earning a college degree does little to increase knowledge of America’s history, key texts, and institutions. The average score among those who ended their formal education with a bachelor’s degree is 57%, or an “F.” That is only 13 percentage points higher than the average score among those who ended their formal education with a high school diploma.
    • Only 24% of college graduates know the First Amendment prohibits establishing an official religion for the United States.”

  16. Paul Schulte, you are probably thinking of Judge Wapner. I always liked him. He explained California law in his judgments. He was a war hero too (Purple Heart & Bronze Star).

  17. While it’s silly for people to think that Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court (I actually think that was a facetious answer given by people who simply didn’t know who’s on the Supreme Court), I would add to those saying that Judge Judy’s qualifications and educational value shouldn’t be dismissed… I’m often impressed by her ability to put common law concepts into language laypersons can understand

  18. High schools and colleges have become moron factories

    This can’t be repeated enough. Students don’t know history….they don’t know who won the Civil War or even what it is. Don’t know who we fought in WWII, who our allies were and even why we fought. Ccan’t find anything on a map. Don’t know geography. Refuse to read books that are ‘uncomfortable’. Barely are literate. Math!!! forget about it. Economics? What is that.

    Several generations of uneducated, ignorant people who are literally unable to function or think.

    Idiocracy (the movie) wasn’t supposed to be a model.

  19. A few things came to mind reading this then clicking through the underlying study results:

    1.) If the headline had read, “90% of college graduates correctly identified that Judith Sheindlin is not on the US Supreme Court” that would NOT have captured any attention but would have been more representative than this headline (most peoples reaction would probably be, ‘who is Judith Sheindlin!?’)

    In reading the study linked by CNN, the question was phrased, ‘Which of the following serves on the U.S. Supreme Court, and ‘Judith Sheindlin’ was one of the five possible answers on the multiple choice. 62% correctly identified that, of the possible choices, the answer was ‘Elena Kagan’. I doubt 62% of the general public would even know who ‘Elena Kagan’ OR ‘Judith Sheindlin’ were if asked without any sort of context. This study is not shocking at all.

    The survey never described her as ‘Judge Judy’, they used her actual name ‘Judith Sheindlin’. It’s misrepresentative (and irresponsible to report) to say that people thought ‘Judge Judy’ was on the supreme court. ‘Judge Judy’ is a character that Judith Sheindlin plays on TV (but again, I doubt highly that when asked out of context, most people would have no idea who Judith Sheindlin is or that she plays a character on TV). If the stage name ‘Judge Judy’ was what was listed on the survey, and 10% of the people chose THAT, then your headline would be accurate. Otherwise to claim people thought ‘Judge Judy’ was on the supreme court is misleading.

    2.) How many graduates were surveyed? The article says it was a total cross-section of 1,000 adults representative of the general American public. Given that roughly 30% of Americans 18+ have college degrees, so I am guessing that maybe 300 of the 1000 were ‘college graduates’? That means roughly 30 ‘college graduates’ out of 300 college graduates surveyed guessed on a multiple choice that ‘Judith Sheindlin’ was the choice over Elena Kagan? Really, again not that shocking. Asked out of context, I would imagine 10% or more of the people would have no idea who Elena Kagan is either.

    3) College graduates of what college? When? Recent graduates? College graduates of what type of degree? The published study in the CNN article just says ‘college graduates’. It leaves people to assume recent, but no where does it specify, and the study didn’t break down the ‘college graduates’ by age or when they graduated. These could have been graduates from 30 years ago! If it was a cross-section of the population it’s likely that half or more surveyed actually graduated more than 15 years ago!

  20. david – you are correct, it was Judge Wapner. The law students used to watch his show in the afternoon to learn the “real” law.:)

  21. Paul, I first learned the concept of “legal theory” from Judge Wapner. He would ask litigants, “what is your legal theory for why you should prevail.” I think his approach created an interest in law for a lot of people.

  22. You want to know what’s shocking? It’s shocking that a law professor would publish such moronic pap. Six is the only guy who analyzes and thoughtfully considers the ‘survey’. All such activity was ignored by the very careless ‘professor’ in order to generate clicks from a seriously deficient crowd. That’s what shocking.

  23. Well, well, well JT. Looks like you, having been criticized for purposely omitting Judge Judy’s vast amount of legal experience from your original version of the article, has stirred you to now amend your article, adding that you acknowledge that Judith Sheindlin was ONCE an actual judge. Wrong again, JT. Why is it so difficult, at least in this instance, for you to actually tell the truth? I simply don’t get it. She wasn’t ONCE an actual judge–she was the supervising judge in Manhattan’s family court AND she was a judge in criminal court. Her accomplishments and experience span decades, and she was probably practicing law while you were still peeing in your training pants. Is it that she was appointed? Is that your problem? Do you hold all judges, who are appointed, with the same disdain and contempt? If not, why does she merit a vastly different standard by which to value and analyze her past judicial positions–positions that she held for years? I’d put her years of experience, both on and off the bench, up against any of your colleagues, teaching alongside of you in your law school, any day of the week and twice on Sunday. You seem, unfortunately, woefully incapable, for whatever the reason, of distinguishing between the fact that 10 percent of college graduates believed that she was on the US Supreme Court and Judge Judy’s indisputably accomplished and successful past in the legal field. I do declare–I do believe that I detect the strong scent of jealousy. Not an attractive scent, JT.

  24. I swear to god, one of Turley’s kids does the posting around here. Get a look at Turley’s ‘most recent’ photo of the court.


  25. Why doesn’t Turley post something regarding the domestic terrorists in Oregon and their right to bear arms vis a vis criminals bearing arms. We are missing out on some good exchanges here. Judge Judy, fudge Judge Judy. She probably could do no better or worse than the present Supreme Court Judges.

  26. isaac,
    Why don’t you write it up and submit it to JT? Perhaps he will make you a weekend contributor. We used to have a few of them regularly contribute on the weekends but they have not been seen of late. It might have something to do their lack of readership. Darren has been a great contributor.

  27. LOL! Yeah L’Observer, I’m sure that was it. Kind of like Obama’s weakness is he simply doesn’t explain things in a way that would make everyone agree with him. Stupid people just don’t see his brilliance. Our past weekend contributors were unpopular because the readers were too stupid to get it.

    isaac would fit right in.

  28. Why doesn’t Turley post something regarding the domestic terrorists in Oregon and their right to bear arms vis a vis criminals bearing arms.

    Why don’t you get your own blog and then you can post about anything you want. WordPress.com

  29. First of all, it’s just not possible to degrade the legal profession any further, it’s as low as it can go with all its low morals, illegal, corrupt and contemptible conduct. Most people already now that except maybe some of the tards that frequent this blog.

    That being said, I think I saw Elvis in a black robe hanging around the Malevolent sUpreme cOurt last year.

  30. This poll is merely an indication of the idealism of today’s college students. The students would just LIKE to see Judy Sheindlin on the SCOTUS, a judge with integrity, fairness, and an understanding of the law — instead of the disingenuous political hacks currently on the SC.

  31. Olly

    No takers, eh. No minerals or stomach for the losing end of an argument. When you believe in something you have to dive in, win or lose.

  32. What did you expect would happen when admissions are often based on ‘diversity’ rather than ability?

    Now you have a ‘diverse’ opinion on Judge Judy. Live with it.

    By the way, she would likely be a better justice than Sotomayor (The Wise Latina) or Kagan.

  33. Ha. The ‘most recent’ picture of the court which pictured John Paul Stevens( who retired in 2010) has been replaced with one that includes Justice Kagan. Nice to see that Turley’s children read the comments so that they not only post but make needed corrections.

    Note to Turley: You’re all for transparency. Perhaps you could include that policy on your own posts. An update on corrections would be appreciated.

  34. Does Judge Judy possess arrogance sufficient to cavalierly commingle the definitions of “federal” and “state” in a flagrant attempt to “fix” a case and modify the English language and the U.S. Constitution in one fell swoop?

    For such high station, criteria must have been met.

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