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Monday, August 28, 2006 

Who Comes to Mind?

I'd like to continue my obsession with lists and numbers. The Empirical Legal Studies blog has this post about a recent Zogby pop culture survey. William Ford gives us the rundown...
In this survey, people were asked to name only two justices, not all nine. Sixty-one percent of people could not name any justices, whereas 15% named one and 24% named two.
So who were the Justices who came to mind? Here are the numbers...
Thomas 20%
Scalia 11%
Roberts 9%
Ginsburg 9%
Alito 5%
Kennedy 4%
Souter 3%
Stevens 2%
Breyer 1%
I think that these numbers make a lot of sense. The two most named Justices were Thomas and Scalia. They are often talked about together, like "I'm going to appoint Justices in the mold of Scalia and Thomas," or "I hate Justices Scalia and Thomas," depending on your politics. Thomas' high percentage probably has a lot to do with the controversy around his confirmation and his race.

The other Justices have aspects that account for their position on the list. Roberts is the new Chief Justice. He was also the first new member of the Court in over a decade. Those are memorable qualities. Ginsburg is the only woman on the Court. That, like Thomas' race, serves to set her apart from the crowd of old white guys. The old white guys hang out on the bottom of the list.

Anyone think that Breyer is mad that even after writing a book about law (something of note for a sitting Justice), nobody knows who he is?

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  • I'm Steve
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  • "There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." P.J. O'Rourke
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