• Gallup last year: Plurality of Americans … have never heard of Antonin Scalia

    Normally here’s where I’d say “this isn’t America” except that this really is America, a land where 10 percent of college graduates think Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court.

    Scalia passing right at the moment that Trump is poised to take over the GOP feels like some sort of Biblical omen.

    Follow the link up top to Gallup’s article and you’ll find some data that’ll likely shock you as much as it shocked me: Even among conservatives, Scalia’s net favorable rating as of last summer stood at just +6. (Among Democrats, his rating was net -7. Who would have guessed that the spread between left and right on a lightning rod like Antonin Scalia was a mere 13 points?) As recently as 10 years ago, Scalia was a solid +36 among conservatives. What happened? I think Gallup’s read on that shift is correct, that it has little to do with Scalia himself and everything to do with growing contempt for the Court generally among the wider population, including on the right. There are many conservatives, I’m sure, who know enough about the Court to know who Scalia is but who follow Court news too casually to follow how the individual justices voted in high-profile cases. How many Americans, even on the right, know who wrote the majority opinion in Heller? How many could tell you how Scalia voted in the drumbeat of cases expanding gay rights and ultimately legalizing gay marriage? What percentage read past the headline the day the Court upheld ObamaCare to learn which five members of the Court cast the decisive votes? To some extent Scalia was a victim of Americans’ egregious civic ignorance, especially when it comes to the judiciary. He was arguably the most influential advocate for conservatism in government for fully 30 years, and even so — nothing better than +6, even among conservatives. Pitiful.

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