Saturday, July 11, 2009

American Knowledge of Supreme Court is a Disgrace

A poll released yesterday by C-SPAN indicates that few Americans know much about the Supreme Court. In fact, when one examines the results of the poll in greater detail, it reveals an America that is shockingly ignorant of the highest court in their land, which routinely makes decisions that greatly impact their lives.

Less than half of respondents knew that the Court had nine justices. Less than half were able to name a single sitting justice. A mere 5% could identify Brown vs. Board of Education as a case that was heard before the Court. While the poll didn't go into details about the way the Court operates, we can safely assume that similarly pathetic percentages would represent the number of Americans who understand how cases end up before the Supreme Court.

This is a disgrace. Any person who graduates from an American high school should have a sound working knowledge of the Supreme Court. They should know how many members it has, who those people are, what the important cases in its history have been, and how the Court operates. The fact that the American public is so shockingly ignorant of such a critical part of their nations' governmental structure is a cause for serious concern.

This is not just a fault of the American educational system; it is also a failing of the American people themselves. What percentage of the American people can name a Michael Jackson song? Or identify the mother of Brad Pitt's children? Call me crazy, but I am guessing the numbers would be quite higher than those of the C-SPAN survey on knowledge of the Supreme Court.

The American people must free themselves from the mental chains created by an obsession with modern pop culture and liberate their minds to embrace the truly important aspects of the world around them. Until we do, we will never achieve the dream of a truly Jeffersonian republic.

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