U.S. Supreme Court

Justice Ginsburg is close behind Judge Judy on most trusted list

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Judith Sheindlin.
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Americans trust Judge Judy more than Supreme Court justices.

But actors are apparently the most trusted people in America, according to a Reader’s Digest poll. Topping its trusted list were actors Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock and Denzel Washington.

The top judges? Judith Sheindlin, TV’s Judge Judy, was 28th on the list, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was 36th, and television judge Joe Brown was 39th.

Only three other Supreme Court justices were in the top 50. Justice Stephen G. Breyer was 43rd, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was 44th and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy was 49th. The court’s newest justices, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, came in at 53rd and 62nd respectively.

Also in the bottom 50 were Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. (60th), Antonin Scalia (66th, just ahead of Billy Graham), and Clarence Thomas (88th).

President Obama was less trusted than his wife.

Why did Judge Judy fare so well? Robert Thompson, founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, suggests it has to do with exposure. “If I like Judge Judy, I can see her every day for an hour and connect with her,” Thompson told Reader’s Digest. “We don’t even see the president that often, let alone a Supreme Court justice.”

A press release explains the methodology. The poll asked 1,000 people to look at a list of more than 200 people from 15 influential professions and then to rank them for trustworthiness, taking into account integrity and character, exceptional talent, drive to personal excellence, internal moral compass, message, honesty and leadership.

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