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David Souter worries over lack of civics knowledge in the U.S.

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Surely feels nice to say what’s on my mind!

In a rare public appearance Saturday, retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter decried a “dangerous state of civic knowledge” in America, warning that a lack of proper civics education poses a threat to judicial independence.

“We know from survey results that two-thirds of people in the United States cannot even name all three branches of the national government,” Souter said at the opening assembly of the American Bar Association’s annual meeting. “This is something to worry about.”

A soft-spoken orator, Souter’s passion for this subject pierced his austere delivery as he recounted a youth spent learning about government by sitting in on meetings in the rectangular Town Hall of Weare, N.H. Wistfully, he noted: “If anyone had put the question to one of my 9th-grade classmates or to me — what are the three branches of government? — none of us would have failed to answer.”

Appointed as a Supreme Court justice in 1990 by President George Bush, Souter was expected to fall in line with the court’s conservative wing. But he repeatedly voted along with the liberal justices, frustrating Republicans time and again…

After nearly two decades on the court, Souter stepped down in June. Judge Sonia Sotomayor was nominated to replace him by President Barack Obama, and she awaits a confirmation vote by the U.S. Senate.

After retiring, Souter began working with the New Hampshire Supreme Court Society task force to bolster civics education in the state’s public schools. Souter’s primary contention in his speech was that a populace uneducated about government can’t possibly respect the importance of an independent judiciary.

Which is exactly the way corporate America and their flunkies in Congress would have it remain. The scariest thing on Earth to demagogues and dealers – is an educated citizen.

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Written by Ed Campbell

August 2, 2009 at 3:00 pm

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