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Perceptions of the U.S. Justice System - Division of Media Relations and Public Affairs - American Bar Association

Perceptions of the U.S. Justice System
Opinion
Confidence in Institutions/Professions

Respondents were asked about their level of confidence in various institutions in American society, such as organized religion or the legal profession/lawyers, using a 5-point scale with the end points of "extremely confident" and "not at all confident."

While confidence in the overall U.S. justice system is only at 30%, confidence in the different components within the system varies widely. For example, 50% of the respondents said they are extremely or very confident in the Supreme Court. Interestingly, only 34% said the same of the Federal Courts. Confidence in judges is only fair, with 32% of the respondents being extremely or very confident. Confidence in the U.S. Congress is even lower, at 18%, and only 14% of respondents said they are extremely or very confident in lawyers. In fact, the only category generating less confidence than the U.S. Congress and lawyers is the media at 8%.

The converse of this information confirms that this negative perception is held by a majority of respondents. Sixty percent (60%) are only slightly confident or have no confidence in the media. Further, almost half of respondents (42%) lack confidence in lawyers. On the positive side, the U.S. Supreme Court and the local police are the two components of the justice system that have the lowest percentage of "no confidence" votes.

In contrast to most components of the justice system, the local police, doctors and accountants have been able to garner a fairly healthy amount of confidence.

 

 

Extremely/

Very Confident

Somewhat Confident

Slightly/Not At All Confident

%

%

%

       
U.S. Supreme Court

50

35

15

The Local Police

47

33

20

Medical Profession/Doctors

46

39

15

Accounting Profession/Accountants

39

44

15

Organized Religion

37

30

31

Federal Courts other than U.S. Supreme Court

34

45

21

Judiciary/Judges

32

46

22

U.S. Justice System in General

30

43

27

State and Local Courts

28

47

25

The Public Schools

27

38

35

The Executive Branch of the Federal

Government – Office of the President;

Departments of Commerce, Defense, etc.

26

36

37

The Executive Branches of State/Local

Government – Office of Governors, Mayors,

Etc.

24

50

26

The State Legislatures

19

54

27

Your State's Prison System

19

41

39

U.S. Congress

18

47

35

The Legal Profession/Lawyers

14

44

42

The Media

8

32

60

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Survey and report prepared by M/A/R/CŪ Research.