Nearly one in 10 American college graduates believes Judith Sheindlin, a.k.a the wisecracking Judge Judy from syndicated afternoon television, is one of the nine justices currently serving on the United States Supreme Court. That's according to a report released Tuesday from American Council of Trustees and Alumni, which conducted a poll of 1,000 adults late last summer.
The survey found 9.6 percent of college graduates identified Judy as a Supreme Court justice, while 5.5 percent had Secretary of State John Kerry serving the country's highest court. Nearly 22 percent said Lawrence Warren Pierce — a former federal judge with an admittedly Supreme Court-worthy name — was a current Supreme Court justice.
(Sheindlin did serve as a supervising judge in Manhattan's family court, but the 73-year-old never served a higher court, retiring in 1996.)
What's more, nearly 60 percent of college grads polled incorrectly identified Thomas Jefferson as the "Father of the Constitution," while just 28 percent correctly identified James Madison.
When asked to identify the president of the Senate, a majority (54 percent) of college graduates correctly identified Vice President Joe Biden. But 32 percent chose then House Speaker John Boehner for that position.
The findings were part of a report titled "A Crisis in Civic Education" that concludes recent college graduates "are alarmingly ignorant of America’s history and heritage."
Ironically, the one thing college graduates are least ignorant about is their own constitutional rights, or lack thereof.
According to the survey, 84 percent of college graduates correctly said that the "right to an education" is not protected by the First Amendment.
But perhaps just as alarming, 2.5 percent of those surveyed said freedom of speech is not protected under the First Amendment.
To borrow a line from the snooty maître d' in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," I weep for the future.