Most Americans Can't Name Any Supreme Court Justices, Says FindLaw.com Survey

Jan 10, 2006, 00:00 ET from FindLaw.com

    EAGAN, Minn., Jan. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- In spite of broad, high-profile news
 coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court in the past year, 57 percent of Americans
 can't name any current U.S. Supreme Court justices.  According to a new
 national survey conducted by FindLaw.com, the leading legal Web site, only
 43 percent of American adults can name at least one justice who is currently
 serving on the nation's highest court.
     In any given year, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on a broad range
 of high-profile legal and constitutional issues.  But in this past year, even
 greater attention was focused on the Court following the announced retirement
 of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist
 and President Bush's subsequent nominations of John Roberts, the new chief
 justice; Harriet Miers, who eventually withdrew her nomination; and Samuel
 Alito, whose confirmation hearings began this week.  Interest groups have
 spent millions of dollars to sway public opinion on the nominations.
     Still, the FindLaw.com survey finds a majority of Americans cannot name
 even one U.S. Supreme Court justice.  The survey results represent a slight
 improvement over an identical survey conducted in 2003 that found only
 35 percent of Americans could name any of the Supreme Court justices who were
 serving at that time.
     Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court, was
 the justice most frequently identified in the latest survey.  O'Connor
 announced in July 2005 that she will retire from the Court as soon as a
 replacement justice is seated.
     The percentages of Americans who could name each current justice were as
 follows:
 
      27% Sandra Day O'Connor
      21% Clarence Thomas
      16% John Roberts
      13% Antonin Scalia
      12% Ruth Bader Ginsburg
      7% Anthony Kennedy
      5% David Souter
      3% Stephen Breyer
      3% John Paul Stevens
 
 
     Additional results:
 
     --  More men than women (46% to 39%) can name at least one Supreme Court
         justice.
     --  The ability to correctly name Supreme Court justices rises with
         increases in age, education and household income.
     --  Five percent of Americans believe William Rehnquist still serves on
         the Supreme Court.  The former chief justice died in September 2005.
     --  Two percent of Americans believe Samuel Alito is a Supreme Court
         justice.  Alito was nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court by
         President Bush in October 2005, but has not yet been confirmed by the
         U.S. Senate.
     --  The percentage of Americans who can name all nine current Supreme
         Court justices, statistically speaking, is zero.
     --  The percentage of Americans who can name eight or more of the nine
         current Supreme Court justices also statistically rounds to zero.
     --  The publicity surrounding the appointment of new Chief Justice John
         Roberts appears to have made an impression.  Sixteen percent of those
         surveyed identified Roberts as a current member of the Court.  In the
         2003 survey, only 10 percent of those surveyed identified then-Chief
         Justice William Rehnquist as a member of the Supreme Court.
     --  Incorrect responses from those surveyed as to who is currently serving
         on the U.S. Supreme Court included George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton,
         Thurgood Marshall and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
 
 
     "In a way it's not surprising that most members of the public can't name a
 single Supreme Court justice," says constitutional historian Stephen Presser,
 a professor at Northwestern University Law School. "The average citizen
 probably doesn't view the judicial role as being as important as the role of
 Congress, which in effect makes the laws, or the president, who administers
 the laws. The reality is that who sits on the Supreme Court makes a big
 difference as to what happens to us as a nation. As such, the public ought to
 be paying more attention to the Supreme Court and the battles over the
 nomination of justices."
     Information including U.S. Supreme Court decisions dating back to 1893,
 profiles of justices, court calendars, briefs and listings of current cases
 can be found at FindLaw(R) ( http://www.findlaw.com ).  Detailed results of
 the survey can be found at http://public.findlaw.com/ussc/122005survey.html .
     The national survey used a representative sample of 1,000 adults
 nationwide, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, and
 was conducted for FindLaw.com by Ipsos Public Affairs.
 
     About Thomson FindLaw
     Thomson FindLaw ( http://www.findlaw.com ) is the leading provider of
 online legal information and solutions for the legal community, businesses and
 individuals.  According to comScore Media Metrix, a leading independent Web
 usage reporting service, the FindLaw.com Internet portal is the
 highest-trafficked legal Web site with 3.7 million unique monthly users --
 three times more than its closest competitor.  The site provides
 comprehensive, plain-English legal information to businesses and individuals.
 These resources include West Legal Directory(R), the Internet's largest
 directory of lawyers and legal professionals.  FindLaw.com also offers
 comprehensive information, resources and services for law practice and legal
 career development, including free case law, an online career center, breaking
 legal news, newsletters, message boards, service directories, continuing legal
 education and legal search tools.  In addition, Thomson FindLaw provides
 access to tools and services that help connect legal professionals with
 potential clients.  Thomson FindLaw is a business within The Thomson
 Corporation (NYSE:   TOC; TSX: TOC).
 
 

SOURCE FindLaw.com
    EAGAN, Minn., Jan. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- In spite of broad, high-profile news
 coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court in the past year, 57 percent of Americans
 can't name any current U.S. Supreme Court justices.  According to a new
 national survey conducted by FindLaw.com, the leading legal Web site, only
 43 percent of American adults can name at least one justice who is currently
 serving on the nation's highest court.
     In any given year, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on a broad range
 of high-profile legal and constitutional issues.  But in this past year, even
 greater attention was focused on the Court following the announced retirement
 of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist
 and President Bush's subsequent nominations of John Roberts, the new chief
 justice; Harriet Miers, who eventually withdrew her nomination; and Samuel
 Alito, whose confirmation hearings began this week.  Interest groups have
 spent millions of dollars to sway public opinion on the nominations.
     Still, the FindLaw.com survey finds a majority of Americans cannot name
 even one U.S. Supreme Court justice.  The survey results represent a slight
 improvement over an identical survey conducted in 2003 that found only
 35 percent of Americans could name any of the Supreme Court justices who were
 serving at that time.
     Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court, was
 the justice most frequently identified in the latest survey.  O'Connor
 announced in July 2005 that she will retire from the Court as soon as a
 replacement justice is seated.
     The percentages of Americans who could name each current justice were as
 follows:
 
      27% Sandra Day O'Connor
      21% Clarence Thomas
      16% John Roberts
      13% Antonin Scalia
      12% Ruth Bader Ginsburg
      7% Anthony Kennedy
      5% David Souter
      3% Stephen Breyer
      3% John Paul Stevens
 
 
     Additional results:
 
     --  More men than women (46% to 39%) can name at least one Supreme Court
         justice.
     --  The ability to correctly name Supreme Court justices rises with
         increases in age, education and household income.
     --  Five percent of Americans believe William Rehnquist still serves on
         the Supreme Court.  The former chief justice died in September 2005.
     --  Two percent of Americans believe Samuel Alito is a Supreme Court
         justice.  Alito was nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court by
         President Bush in October 2005, but has not yet been confirmed by the
         U.S. Senate.
     --  The percentage of Americans who can name all nine current Supreme
         Court justices, statistically speaking, is zero.
     --  The percentage of Americans who can name eight or more of the nine
         current Supreme Court justices also statistically rounds to zero.
     --  The publicity surrounding the appointment of new Chief Justice John
         Roberts appears to have made an impression.  Sixteen percent of those
         surveyed identified Roberts as a current member of the Court.  In the
         2003 survey, only 10 percent of those surveyed identified then-Chief
         Justice William Rehnquist as a member of the Supreme Court.
     --  Incorrect responses from those surveyed as to who is currently serving
         on the U.S. Supreme Court included George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton,
         Thurgood Marshall and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
 
 
     "In a way it's not surprising that most members of the public can't name a
 single Supreme Court justice," says constitutional historian Stephen Presser,
 a professor at Northwestern University Law School. "The average citizen
 probably doesn't view the judicial role as being as important as the role of
 Congress, which in effect makes the laws, or the president, who administers
 the laws. The reality is that who sits on the Supreme Court makes a big
 difference as to what happens to us as a nation. As such, the public ought to
 be paying more attention to the Supreme Court and the battles over the
 nomination of justices."
     Information including U.S. Supreme Court decisions dating back to 1893,
 profiles of justices, court calendars, briefs and listings of current cases
 can be found at FindLaw(R) ( http://www.findlaw.com ).  Detailed results of
 the survey can be found at http://public.findlaw.com/ussc/122005survey.html .
     The national survey used a representative sample of 1,000 adults
 nationwide, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, and
 was conducted for FindLaw.com by Ipsos Public Affairs.
 
     About Thomson FindLaw
     Thomson FindLaw ( http://www.findlaw.com ) is the leading provider of
 online legal information and solutions for the legal community, businesses and
 individuals.  According to comScore Media Metrix, a leading independent Web
 usage reporting service, the FindLaw.com Internet portal is the
 highest-trafficked legal Web site with 3.7 million unique monthly users --
 three times more than its closest competitor.  The site provides
 comprehensive, plain-English legal information to businesses and individuals.
 These resources include West Legal Directory(R), the Internet's largest
 directory of lawyers and legal professionals.  FindLaw.com also offers
 comprehensive information, resources and services for law practice and legal
 career development, including free case law, an online career center, breaking
 legal news, newsletters, message boards, service directories, continuing legal
 education and legal search tools.  In addition, Thomson FindLaw provides
 access to tools and services that help connect legal professionals with
 potential clients.  Thomson FindLaw is a business within The Thomson
 Corporation (NYSE:   TOC; TSX: TOC).
 
 SOURCE  FindLaw.com