NATIONAL BRIEFING / ILLINOIS

Times Wire Reports

Retired Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter urged the nation's lawyers to help revitalize civic education, warning that the failure of many Americans to understand how the government works poses a serious threat.

"There is a danger to judicial independence when people have no understanding of how the judiciary fits into the constitutional scheme," Souter said in his address to the American Bar Assn.'s annual meeting in Chicago.

Souter pointed to a poll showing that two-thirds of Americans can't name the three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. He said that must change to keep judges independent of political pressures.

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