Colin Powell, former Secretary of State
Civic Ed Polls & Facts
"What is a source for concern are polls consistently showing that Americans are unfamiliar with basic features of our constitutional system." - Michael C. Dorf, former Supreme Court clerk
Some researchers have found that lack of civic knowledge may be somewhat overstated, because adults do remember basic information when given cues. Moreover, Justice at Stake polls show a broad, instinctive support for fair, impartial courts. Nonetheless, polls are clear that Americans give less thought to courts than other government branches, and have little detailed information.
FindLaw.com 2010 Poll
- 2/3 of Americans cannot name any U.S. Supreme Court Justices.
- Only one percent of those polled could name all nine Justices
American Bar Association 2005 Civics Knowledge Poll
- 44% of Americans could not correctly identify the role of the judiciary
- only 55%, given a choice of options, correctly identified the three branches of government
- 22% said the branches were Republican, Democrat, and Independent
National Center for State Courts 2009 Poll
- only 21% polled correctly named all three branches of government
- 44% could not name any branches of government
- Confidence in the state courts is lower among those with less knowledge