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If You Can Name a Justice, You're Better Off Than Most Americans

By Robyn Hagan Cain on August 20, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you're reading this blog, you're probably aware of the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court is populated by nine justices. You probably even know their names.

(If you haven't taken a moment recently to congratulate yourself on that accomplishment, maybe you should do so now. Go ahead. We'll wait.)

Why is a passing familiarity with the Supreme Court an accomplishment, you ask? Because two-thirds of Americans can't name a single Supreme Court justice, according to a recent survey.

That's right. Everyone may have an opinion about the controversial cases before the Nine, but only 34 percent of Americans can name one of the justices who will decide those controversies.

So who are the popular kids in the Supreme Court crowd?

The most recognized justice is everyone's favorite surprise swing vote, Chief Justice John Roberts. Twenty percent of Americans know that the Chief is on the Court, (though the results don't indicate whether respondents recognized that he's the Chief.)

Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are tied in second place, with 16 percent each, while 13 percent of respondents were able to name Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.

Rounding out the bottom of the list, we have Justice Anthony Kennedy (10 percent), Justice Samuel Alito (5 percent), Justice Elena Kagan (4 percent), and Justice Stephen Breyer (3 percent).

Staci Zaretsky at Above the Law suggests, "If anything, this just goes to show that SCOTUS arguments should be televised. Our country would be much more educated if there were shows like Keeping Up With the Kourt and The Real Justices of D.C."

Do you agree? Would the public be better off if Scalia rivaled Snooki in the collective consciousness?

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