Elena Kagan, Federal Judges, Politics, SCOTUS, Supreme Court

New Poll Reveals America’s Ongoing Stupidity About the Judicial Branch

Here at Above the Law, we’re getting very excited for the upcoming Kagan confirmation hearings. We’ll be liveblogging Lady Kaga’s big show next week.

In the lead-up to the confirmation hearings, C-SPAN conducted a poll on what the people think about the Supreme Court. There are a bunch of interesting findings. As usual, the Supreme Court enjoys the highest approval rating of any branch of government:

Isn’t it interesting that the unelected branch of government is consistently the one that voters like the best? Maybe if members of Congress were appointed by fiat, instead of selected through popular elections, people would cheer?

The above question generated a curious response, but not a dumb one. To find “the stupid,” you have to drill a little deeper into the poll.

And, ye Gods, are Americans critically uninformed when it comes to the high court….

Quick, who has President Obama nominated to be the next SCOTUS Justice? If you are an average American, you don’t know the answer to that:

That’s embarrassing.

Wait a minute, 79% of black people generally, and 70% of people over 50, couldn’t come up with Brown v. Board of Education? Brown! I don’t even know what the word is to describe that kind of ignorance of your own history, and I’m paid to come up with words. Jesus.

But the poll shows an even higher level of idiocy when you ask Americans what the Court spends most of its time doing:

The Supreme Court hasn’t heard a major affirmative action case since, what, Michigan? Bollinger came down in 2003. The Supreme Court hasn’t heard a landmark abortion case since Planned Parenthood — in 1992! (Maybe I’ll give you Carhart — that was in 2007.)

Surely the Court doesn’t deal with abortion “most often.” How can we be this uninformed?

And yet, with nary a clue about what the Court does, the cases they hear, or even who sits on the freaking bench, 48% of the people think the Court is doing a better job of serving the public’s interests than the other branches of government.

So of course a majority of Americans want the Court to operate in a fundamentally different manner:

They don’t know anything about it, they like it, yet they want to change it. You know, anything to get those “smartypants” out of their unassailable positions of power:

Thank God we don’t actually get to vote for SCOTUS Justices. Can you imagine the horror of deciding these appointments at the ballot box?

C-SPAN Supreme Court Survey [C-SPAN]

(hidden for your protection)

comments sponsored by

Show all comments