I suppose that’s a rhetorical question. When you live in a nation that’s been reduced to an army of mindless reality-TV-watching drones, it’s not exactly surprising that the average citizen is more inclined to trust a television judge than a jurist who’s been appointed to the highest court in the land.
We care more about the matching camouflage wedding couture Honey Boo Boo’s parents, Mama June and Sugar Bear, wore when they tied the knot this past weekend than the next round of controversial decisions that will be soon be handed down by the Supreme Court. We care more about the Kimye baby bump than the very existence of the Supreme Court, much less the names of the justices sitting on its esteemed bench.
No one who’s been paying any attention is taken aback by the fact that Americans care more about the people they see on television on a daily basis than names they once read in a textbook. That’s why the results of the latest Reader’s Digest Trust Poll as to this country’s judges are expected, and sad, and not at all surprising….
Before we start discussing the names of the judges who ranked the highest in the trust poll, we’ll break down the magazine’s methodology for you. Reader’s Digest rounded up the names of 200 “opinion shapers, leaders and headline makers” across 15 professions and showed the list to more than 1,000 Americans, who then ranked each name based on how trustworthy they thought they were. Here, trustworthiness was defined as “integrity and character, exceptional talent, drive to personal excellence, internal moral compass, message, honesty and leadership.”
All that being said, famous actors — Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, and Denzel Washington — were the most trusted people in America. Our own president was in the bottom half of the list, behind people like Tim Tebow and Adam Sandler. Again, this isn’t at all surprising, because we bring these people into our homes on DVD and pay exorbitant fees to see them in theaters while we eat our overpriced popcorn.
So when it comes to American’s most trusted judges, it’s no surprise that we all love Judge Judy. She was #28 on the Reader’s Digest list. She’s snarky and laypeople love it when she lays down the law in little sound bytes that actually make sense. Plus, her show is only half an hour long, which is about the amount of time it would take for the average citizen with an Adderall prescription to put aside the Supreme Court’s 193-page Obamacare opinion before deciding to use it to papercut their eyeballs.
But how do the Supreme Court justices stack up against our nation’s preeminent television jurist?
- No. 36: Ruth Bader Ginsburg
- No. 43: Stephen Breyer
- No. 44: John Roberts
- No. 49: Anthony Kennedy
- No. 53: Sonia Sotomayor
- No. 62: Elena Kagan
- No. 60: Samuel Alito
- No. 66: Antonin Scalia
- No. 88: Clarence Thomas
So again, I’m going to implore the Supreme Court to start televising its arguments — or better yet, give them all their own television shows, reality or otherwise. Seriously, give us a reason to watch C-SPAN.
Perhaps if something like “Keeping Up With Klarence” existed, the only black member of our country’s high court wouldn’t have been beaten out by Judge Joe Brown, who was ranked as the 39th most trustworthy person according to the Reader’s Digest poll. How about a talk show with Sonia Sotomayor? “It’s Her Beloved World (And We’re Just Living in It)” — she could be the next Oprah!
You want a comedy? “Kagan and Scalia: The Really Odd Couple”. If you’re into shows about buying other people’s expensive old things, you can watch “Antiques Roadshow with Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” where she’d star as a host and as an antique. If you want a late night talk show, you could watch “The John Roberts Show,” with Sam Alito standing in as the witty sidekick. Last, but not least, for some action, why not watch “I Survived” with Stephen Breyer? His calamities could fill out an entire season.
Just think about the ratings, network execs. Please help make American less… stupid.
Reader’s Digest Trust Poll: The 100 Most Trusted People in America [Reader's Digest]
Reader’s Digest Trust Poll: Here’s What Shocked Us the Most [Reader's Digest]
Justice Ginsburg is close behind Judge Judy on most trusted list [ABA Journal]