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Two Thirds of Americans Don’t Know a Single U.S. Supreme Court Justice
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Americans are becoming wary of these friendly seeming surveyors laying booby traps such as “Can you find American on a map?” or “Where is Iraq on this globe?” or “Do you prefer Prague or Ragu?” Nevertheless, the mediums to prove our ignorance are limitless. One of the latest is a new national survey by, which discovered that two-thirds of Americans can’t name a single justice of the Supreme Court.

1,000 American adults were surveyed by phone to conduct the study. It comes after the U.S. Supreme Court has made waves with their rulings on Health Care and immigration. Despite the media hoopla, those names just aren’t sinking in.

The one that sunk in the most is John Roberts, the most popular of the Supreme Justices, with 20% of American’s naming him. The least popular was Stephen Breyer, with 3% of respondents naming him. The full chart reads like this:


John Roberts – 20%

Antonin Scalia – 16%

Clarence Thomas – 16%

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg – 13%

Sonia Sotomayor – 13%

Anthony Kennedy – 10%

Samuel Alito – 5%

Elena Kagan – 4%

Stephen Breyer – 3%

Though Stephen might feel like the last kid picked for baseball at gym class, the logic of what makes one name more memorable than the other is inscrutable and uncanny. As explained by

“Recent rulings, particularly the decision upholding health care reform, have brought more attention to the U.S. Supreme Court than we’ve seen in past years. However, the High Court issues its rulings as a collective body. While justices can and do issue individual concurring and dissenting opinions, court sessions are conducted without TV cameras and deliberations take place behind closed doors. So while the decisions often have significant and lasting impact, the justices themselves are generally not very visible nor well known to the public as individuals.”


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