U.S. Supreme Court
Public Flunks Supreme Court Quiz
Posted Sep 14, 2007 9:51 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
The public knows little about the workings of the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a new survey.
A majority of Americans did not know that U.S. Supreme Court rulings are final, and only one in seven could name John G. Roberts Jr. as the chief justice, a press release (PDF) says. Yet two-thirds of the respondents knew at least one of the judges on American Idol.
The University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center released the survey in advance of Constitution Day on Sept. 17.
One question asked, “If a person disagrees with a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court can he or she appeal the ruling to the Federal Court of Appeals?” Thirty percent correctly said there is no right of appeal, 32 percent said there was, and 38 percent didn’t know or weren’t sure.
Fifty-five percent didn’t know that 5-4 decisions by the high court are the law and must be followed. Fourteen percent said such decisions go to Congress for reconsideration, 7 percent said they are sent back to the lower courts, and 34 percent didn’t know what happens next.