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Two-Thirds of Americans Can’t Name a Single US Supreme Court Justice, Survey Shows

Posted Aug 20, 2012 12:31 PM CDT
By Mark Hansen

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Only one in three Americans can name a sitting justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, a new survey shows.

Chief Justice John Roberts is the best known of the nine, according to the survey conducted by Findlaw.com. One in five respondents were able to identify him.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas tied for second place in name recognition. Sixteen percent of the respondents were able to identify one of them.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Anthony Kennedy fell in the middle, at 13 percent, 13 percent and 10 percent, respectively, in name recognition.

Justices Samuel Alito, at 5 percent, Elena Kagan, at 4 percent, and Stephen Breyer, at 3 percent, brought up the rear.

Only 1 percent of the respondents could name all nine justices.

Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney and editor at FindLaw, says that because the court issues decisions as a collective body, conducts its sessions without TV cameras and deliberates behind closed doors, the justices themselves are generally "not very visible nor well known to the public as individuals."

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