Here is your Morning Brief for April 29, 2015.

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Political Knowledge

According to the Washington Post, many Americans don't know much when it comes to the world of politics. The Pew Research Center spent last month gathering data on a 12-question quiz on politics. The results weren't pretty.

Presented with four options about the current partisan makeup of the Senate, roughly half (52 percent) got the answer right. (It's option number 4 above. Duh.)

Pretty good, right? Not so much. Consider that a straight-up guess would give you a 25 percent success rate since Pew provided four options for people to choose from.  Given that, you'd (or maybe I'd) expect a lot more people to get it right. What did the 48 percent who got it wrong choose? One in five people (21 percent) said that Republicans controlled 61 seats while one in ten thought Democrats held the Senate majority (option #3).  Six percent said the Senate was tied 50-50.

Half of Americans also have no idea who leads the Supreme Court.

Half of people have no idea who leads the Supreme Court.  Eight percent believe it's Thurgood Marshall who a) was never the chief justice and b) has been deceased since 1993.  Four percent of people named Harry Reid, who is a senator not a Supreme Court justice.

The takeaway from all of this? Assuming -- as lots and lots of people who either live in D.C. or follow politics closely do -- that the average person is a deeply-informed consumer of political news is not even close to right. For most people, politics is something that almost never intersects with their daily lives and which they spend zero mind space on day in and day out.

See? This is why I think you should have to take a test before you are allowed to vote. Just a basic civics test would be enough to weed out the uninformed people.

Divided Court

According to the NY Times, the Supreme Court seemed deeply divided over gay marriage.

The justices appeared to clash over not only what is the right answer but also over how to reach it. The questioning illuminated their conflicting views on history, tradition, biology, constitutional interpretation, the democratic process and the role of the courts in prodding social change.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said he was concerned about changing a conception of marriage that has persisted for millennia. Later, though, he expressed qualms about excluding gay families from what he called a noble and sacred institution. Chief Justice John C. Roberts Jr. worried about shutting down a fast-moving societal debate.

In the initial questioning, which lasted about 90 minutes, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. asked whether groups of four people must be allowed to marry, while Justice Antonin Scalia said a ruling for same-sex marriage might require some members of the clergy to perform the ceremonies, even if they violate their religious teaching.

I still think that the Supreme Court rules in favor of gay marriage, but the justices did raise some good questions.

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