Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

It is not uncommon for a judge to appear on television. Nor is it uncommon for a significant court ruling to make headlines on the evening news. It is uncommon, however, for a small time juvenile court lawyer to become an overnight celebrity. Nevertheless, with the first airing of Judge Judy back on Sept. 16, 1996, Judith Sheindlin was not only famous, but was the poster child for a whole new flavor of reality television.
Born on Oct. 21, 1942 in Brooklyn, NY, Judith Susan Blum is the only daughter of Murray and Ethel Blum. Her interest in becoming a lawyer was demonstrated at an early age, as she would constantly engage her father in arguments. In 1961, Judith matriculated at American University where she would earn a BA in government before moving onto the Washington College of Law. While in law school, she was the only woman in a class of 126 students. In 1965, Blum passed the New York Bar Exam and was hired as a corporate lawyer for a cosmetics firm.
Once established, she quickly proved to be much more than the average adjudicator, gaining a reputation for her no-nonsense demeanor and acerbic wit behind the stand. Judy brings a whole new meaning to the “right to a speedy trial,” having no patience for lame excuses and demanding order in her courtroom. This “tough” style of judging led to a “60 Minutes” special chronicling her career in the family court system. Shortly after the special aired, she was asked to star in a new reality courtroom series depicting real cases and real rulings.
“Judge Judy” proved to be nothing short of a smash hit as audiences all over the country could not seem to get enough of Sheindlin’s artfully unforgiving way of dealing out justice. Now in its eighteenth season, the show has been America’s number one rated courtroom reality show ever since day one. Furthermore, “Judge Judy” serves as the inspiration for other popular series, such as “Judge Joe Brown” and “Divorce Court.”
Joshua Shapiro is a third-year student majoring in English and education. He can be reached at

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