Common Sense

“If something doesn’t make sense, it’s usually not true.”

No, she doesn’t put up with nonsense.

“Baloney!” that is what she will say — her stock phrase.

Yes, she is well known for her no-nonsense legal style and powerful personality, sharpness, and quick wit.

Judith Sheindlin, “Judge Judy”, a Supervisor Guardian, does not tolerate any nonsense in her courtroom.

Sheindlin passed the New York Bar Exam in 1965, the same year as her graduation, and was hired as a corporate lawyer for a cosmetics firm. Within two years she became dissatisfied with her job and left to raise her two children. She was soon made aware of a position in the New York court system as a prosecutor in the family courts. In her role as a lawyer Sheindlin prosecuted child abuse cases, domestic violence, and juvenile crime.

By 1982 Sheindlin’s no-nonsense attitude inspired New York Mayor, Ed Koch, to appoint her as a judge in criminal court. Four years later she was promoted to supervising judge in the Manhattan division of the family court. She earned a reputation as a tough judge, notorious for fast decision-making and wise-cracking judgments.

In February 1993 Sheindlin’s outspoken reputation made her the subject of a Los Angeles Times article, profiling her as a woman determined to make the court system work for the common good. She subsequently was featured in a segment on CBS’s 60 Minutes, bringing her national recognition. This led to her first book, Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining, published in 1996. She retired as a family court judge that same year after hearing over 20,000 cases. After her retirement, Sheindlin continued to receive increasing amounts of public attention.

Scheindlin was approached to do a TV show as being a Judge in small claims court.  She accepted given that she would have total control of the proceedings.

Supervising is making sure that others do as they should do, and don’t do as they shouldn’t do, and some Guardians, the Supervisors, naturally gravitate to this role in their relations with others. These Supervisors are eager to enforce the rules and procedures, and they can be serious about seeing to it that others toe the mark — or else face the consequences. They do not hesitate to give their stamp of approval, nor do they withhold their directions or demands for improvement. Like seasoned, stalwart umpires, Supervisors will set their jaw and make the call on anyone who steps up to bat. They even feel obligated to do so, and they’re sometimes surprised when others don’t seem grateful for their judgments. [Please Understand Me II]

Scheindlin used her natural talent as a hard nosed Judge — maybe with a slight bit of extra hutzpah, for entertainment.

Sheindlin’s courtroom series debuted on September 16, 1996. The show met with instant success and made Sheindlin a celebrity, becoming well known for her strict, no-nonsense attitude and wit. The program has been the number one court show since its debut, the only original show on television to increase its ratings yearly, and has integrated itself into American pop culture.


“Get over it.”

“I’m speaking!”

“Liar, liar, pants on fire”

“Listen to me: You are an outrageous person.”

“Sir, you want to say something to me? You sure you want to say something to me?”,

“You mess around with me young lady, I’ll wipe the floor with you. We follow each other?”

“I being in your position would never humiliate myself in front of 10 million people”

In fact, the show’s tagline is Justice with an Attitude. She has explicitly stated that she sometimes sets out to cause embarrassment “in front of ten million people” to someone who has acted badly, as a way of punishing them. Though Sheindlin has a sense of humor as well, it is normally presented in combination with her gruff disposition. In fact, even for reactions to her own humor she will often say something along the lines of “Hey!” to an audience member who is being too noisy and has occasionally had particularly disruptive audience members removed. Occasionally, if Judy believes what the defendant did was exceptionally grievous, she will award the plaintiff the maximum $5000 even if they originally were not seeking that much. [Wikipedia]

Sheindlin has many catchphrases which are referred to as “Judyisms”. Many of these Judyisms are intended to provide a lesson, such as “Beauty fades, dumb is forever.” The main message she wants viewers to take from her show is that people must take responsibility for their actions.

Quote1.pngYou’re going to keep your mouth shut until I come to you and ask you a question, then you’re going to speak; otherwise Byrd will take you outside until you understand the rules, ’cause here, I’m in charge.Quote2.png — Judith Sheindlin

One thought on “Common Sense”

  1. “It is best that we do what we do best”.

    (David West Keirsey)

    I am thinking Judge Judy would have minimal ‘worthlessness’ issues. Great blog. I enjoyed the read and the clip.

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