Judge Wapner more famous than chief justice

WASHINGTON -- Judge Joseph Wapner, who presides over 'The People's Court' on television, is far better known in America than is William Rehnquist, chief justice of the United States, a poll published by The Washington Post showed Friday.

More than two-thirds of all Americans cannot even name one member of the Supreme Court, but 54 percent of them recognize Wapner, according to the survey of 1,005 randomly selected adults.


A mere 9 percent of the adults interviewed named Rehnquist when asked to identify the chief justice. He was not even the best known member of the Supreme Court, for that distinction belonged to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was named by 23 percent of the people.

All other members of the court finished in single digits, the Post said.

Only 29 percent of the people couldname one justice.

The people surveyed were asked to name the chief justice of the Supreme Court. Only 9 percent named Rehnquist; 85 percent did not know, and 6 percent named another person.

The people were also asked to name other justices on the court. Justice Anthony Kennedy was named by 7 percent, Justice Antonin Scalia by 6 percent, Justice Thurgood Marshall by 5 percent, Justice Harry Blackmun by 4 percent, Justice William Brennan by 3 percent, Justice Byron White by 3 percent, and Justice John Paul Stevens by 1 percent.


Respondents also were asked to name the judge on the television program 'The People's Court.' Wapner was known by 54 pecent; 42 percent did not know; 3 percent said they had never heard of the show; and 1 percent named someone else.

The survey, conducted from June 14 until June 18, had a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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