A 2016 survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, found that:
- 26 percent of people could name the three branches of government (executive, legislative and judicial)
- 31 percent of respondents could not name any of three branches, and
- 33 percent correctly said, in the case of a 4-4 Supreme Court tie, the decision of the lower court stands
- 32 percent said the case is sent to the “Federal Court of Appeals” for resolution, and
- 21 percent said the justices must vote until the tie is broken
When citizens lack knowledge about how their government works, democracy suffers. Uninformed citizens are less likely to vote and to support the institutions that govern them.
Addressing the Need:
Californians rely on our judiciary to ensure and protect access to justice. Courthouses across California face constant pressure to adjudicate more and more cases each year, but struggle to find the resources to carry out that role. As a third co-equal branch of our state government, and one that Californians encounter most in their daily lives, it is up to us to encourage our communities and its leaders to better understand and in turn support such an invaluable institution of our democracy.
Foundation for Democracy and Justice partners with local community organizations, from the local county bar association, superior courts, and service organizations to provide meaningful and informative programs to educate empower and engage our communities. By facilitating discussion with local judges and leaders, FDJCA offers insight into issues and institutions frequently misunderstood by the public and in doing so make them more accessible to citizens who need them the most.