Since it shows more public knowledge about The Simpsons
and American Idol than the Constitution (but with no mention of the Three
Stooges), a new study released yesterday by the McCormick Tribune Freedom
Museum is getting a fair amount of coverage. If you want to see the source
material rather than newspaper summaries, go here
for the press release or here
for the full report. The Chicago
Tribune got it right: "A survey released Wednesday showcases a bit of
data that should surprise nobody[.]"
One highlight from the survey: About 21% of respondents thought the First Amendment guarantees the right to own and raise pets. I am always interested in finding examples of exotic constitutional claims—i.e., "rights talk" data points—and I have see this one in action before. Specifically, it was a constitutional right to own 400-pound Bengal-Siberian tigers (and maybe cougars as well): "I think it's my right as a U.S. citizen to have these cats.... If people say we can't have them, they're messing with my constitutional rights." Alex Tresniowski and Gabrielle Cosgriff, Cat Fanciers: With an Increasing Number of Texans Keeping Tigers as Pets, Some in the State Fear More Maulings and Deaths, People, April 16, 2001, at 111.