Take the quiz

Here are the 10 questions that two-dozen SN&R staffers tried to answer. How will you do?

Susan Jacoby’s new book, The Age of American Unreason, claims that most Americans are both uninformed and incurious about matters of great importance to all citizens of a free nation. For example, Jacoby notes, if Americans don’t understand the constitutional obligation of judges to interpret the law, they will fall prey to claims that so-called “activist” judges are “making up new laws.”

To test this theory, 23 SN&R employees took the following quiz. Yes, it’s a small sample. No, I didn’t take statistics in college. But even as anecdotal evidence, this would tend to confirm Jacoby’s thesis.

And we were all disappointed and embarrassed.

On the bright side, though, every single one of us correctly named at least one of the rights guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Bet you’ll never guess which one.

How many justices are there on the U.S. Supreme Court?

How many representatives are there in the U.S. House of Representatives?

How many senators are there in the U.S. Senate?

Who is the president of the U.S. Senate?

Name two countries that border Iraq.

Name the mayor of Sacramento and at least two of the eight city council members.

Name two countries that border Mexico.

Before the United States of America was formed under the U.S. Constitution, we had another founding document. What was its name?

Name three of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

If both the president and the vice-president are incapacitated or unable to serve, who is next in line for the presidency?





The vice president of the United States (currently Vice President Dick Cheney)

Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait

Mayor Heather Fargo; council members Ray Tretheway, Lauren Hammond, Kevin McCarty, Sandy Sheedy, Steve Cohn, Rob Fong, Robbie Waters and Bonnie Pannell

The United States of America, Guatemala and Belize

The Articles of Confederation

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof [1]; or abridging the freedom of speech [2], or of the press [3]; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble [4], and to petition the government for a redress of grievances [5].”

The Speaker of the House of Representatives (currently Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-CA)

Our scores

84 percent correct

21 percent correct

84 percent correct

63 percent correct

84 percent correct

42 percent correct

42 percent correct

37 percent correct

84 percent correct

84 percent correct

Total grade for SN&R: 63 percent, an embarrassing C-. (Oh, all right—it’s a D. But maybe we can grade on a curve?)