Sarah Palin has signed a deal to get her own Judge Judy-style courtroom TV show even though she’s never been a judge and doesn’t even have a law degree, MSN is reporting.
According to a source close to the negotiations, Palin signed the deal back in February with Warm Springs, a Montana-based production company. She and the company have since put together a team, which includes the executive who found both Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown, to develop and market the show.
“It’s a production deal. What happens next is she’ll meet with stations, make a pilot and sell it.”
There’s a stark difference, however, between Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown, and Sarah Palin: the former two have law degrees and long careers behind the bench. Sarah Palin has neither. In fact, the most formal education Palin has is a Bachelor’s degree in communications, with an emphasis in journalism, from the University of Idaho, according to U.S. News & World Report.
So how can someone without a law degree judge civil cases, as in courtroom TV shows like Judge Judy or Judge Joe Brown?
When you’re watching such a show, what the producers don’t tell you is that you’re not watching actual court proceedings in an actual courtroom. Instead, you’re watching arbitration taking place on a TV soundstage that is made to look like a courtroom.
In arbitration, both sides in a dispute agree beforehand to abide by the decision of the arbiter — a third party who has no connection to the case. Parties in disputes often choose arbitration over the courts for a variety of reasons: they don’t want their dirty laundry to be a matter of public record, for example, or they want their dispute settled by someone who may have specific knowledge about their dispute, rather than a judge and/or jury who may not understand the dispute enough to make a fair ruling. For example, an athlete may take his salary dispute with his team to an arbiter because the arbiter may have more knowledge about the sports industry than a regular judge.
Or, in the case of daytime TV courtroom shows, the parties like being in front of the TV cameras and are more than happy to take a nice check from the production company for their appearance on the show.
In the case of Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown, or any similar daytime court show, the judges have actual law degrees and actual experience behind the bench, but that isn’t legally a requirement to be an arbiter. That’s how someone like Sarah Palin, who has been a politician but never a lawyer or judge, can host a daytime courtroom TV show.
Lacking legal education and experience, what qualities does Sarah Palin have that make her a candidate to host a courtroom TV show?
According to the source, “Palin’s telegenic personality, wide appeal and common sense wisdom make her a natural for this kind of format and she was Warm Springs’ top pick for this project.”
Not everyone is as excited about the prospect of Sarah Palin being a “judge” as her TV production company if the comments on social media are to be believed.
If your life is so bad you’re actually going to a Judge Sarah Palin for help, you’re in my prayers.
— ¡Gabe! Ortíz (@TUSK81) March 22, 2016
— TonyD (@Dogger55) March 22, 2016
Sarah Palin’s courtroom TV show, which as of this writing hasn’t been given a name, will premiere in 2017.
[Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images]