Judge Judy host reflects on her life, television show

The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism held a conversation with Judge Judith Sheindlin, the presiding judge on the Emmy Award-winning show Judge Judy, Monday afternoon. Willow Bay, the director of the Annenberg School, interviewed Sheindlin about her life and her time on the show, which is in its 20th season. Annenberg students also had the opportunity to ask her their own questions.

Before the conversation with Sheindlin, an overview video of Sheindlin’s career as Judge Judy played to a crowd of alumni, students, faculty and staff. It ended with a quote that has defined her career: “It’s your life, live it well.”

Throughout her interview, Sheindlin said she believed the country wants to work on eliminating gray areas in morality. According to Sheindlin, that is why the show still appeals to people, 20 years later.

“I think that there’s still a thirst in this country to get back to a place where right is right and wrong is wrong, and there are no fuzzy edges and there isn’t a lot of wiggle room for bad behavior,” Sheindlin said.

Sheindlin also relayed the importance of taking on responsibilities. She gave an example of a 15-year-old mother, who may be able to have kids but not be a good mother.

“You can’t be a great parent when you are 15 years old,” Sheindlin said. “Now you can have a baby when you are 15 years old — fish have babies, dogs have babies, cats have babies, lions have babies — but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are good parents.”

In her show, Sheindlin is known for settling family disputes and handing out harsh judgements when needed. Bay asked her if there was a line between her candor and cruelty, and Sheindlin responded with a “no,” primarily because of the way the entertainment industry has evolved.

“I think we’ve passed the point where we think that milquetoast-y kind of stuff entertains,” Sheindlin said. “It doesn’t.”

Bay asked Sheindlin about what skills had traveled with her throughout her professional career. Sheindlin believes that the most important skill that she had was the ability to get the right people to listen to her ideas.

“You have to have the leverage for wanting a better job, to be able to get the right people to listen to a good idea,” Sheindlin said. “Because there are lots of people who have really good ideas, but the truth of the matter is that unless you have the leverage, it’s clawing up a stream.”

She said that for people who are beginning their careers, it is important to focus on developing essential skills in order to become an essential member of the workplace.

“You have to make yourself indispensable,” Sheindlin said. “You don’t have to have a wildly successful television program to make yourself indispensable and you don’t even have to have a particularly unique skill.”

After giving advice to graduating students on how to negotiate on one’s own behalf, students had the chance to ask Sheindlin their own questions. One student asked why Sheindlin places so much importance on responsibility. Sheindlin responded in the context of her own experience in the family court system.

“In those cases [in the family court] I see the result of lack of responsibility,” Sheindlin said. “And lack of responsibility usually meant in all of those cases that children — innocents — suffered.”

Bay wrapped up her interview with a brief discussion on politics. Sheindlin commented on how people are becoming more politically involved.

“I think it’s been exciting from a communications perspective to see that more people have watched the debates than this time around than probably ever before,” Sheindlin said.

2 replies
  1. Jan Seymour
    Jan Seymour says:

    Judge Judy is another pseudo moralist on the scene who acts as though she is entitled to judge people instead of their small-claims cases. The strength of their case becomes negligible once a background check reveals anything! Apparently, Judge Judy has confused herself with God. In any event, she should cease being such a lying hypocrite! If people actually knew the basis for many of her judgements, she would have been canceled long ago.

    • LittlePumpkin
      LittlePumpkin says:

      “pseudo-moralist”?? You must be joking. Judy actually believes it is EVIL that is the reason for what men do, and not the result of “bad breaks”, or a rough life. She does not give excuses for anyone. I think the only one who confuses themselves with God is yourself, you are projecting. Perhaps Judy reminds yourself of something or someone you dislike, as you read way way more into it than actually exists. She is NO hypocrite. If you read her history, she has saved the US taxpayer millions, and had innocent men’s records expunged because of a lying, fraudulent medical group that falsely accused them of sexual molestation based on false positives (so they could collect lucrative Medicare funding) Judy proved these positives could not be true, and so on- anyway it’s in her book, and she was not tooting her own horn, she was complaining about the system and how easy it is to scam by dishonest entities who just want those big taxpayer dollars. She got a woman her child back, that was stolen from her by a Jewish group who ran a huge conspiracy involving judges, prosecutors, social services- she did this ALL by herself, not accepting even filing help as she feared anyone else might be involved in this conspiracy. She never mentions this, but it’s in an LA Times article from the 90’s (I have it saved to my hard drive). She has done SO much- so much, with no accolades, no public acknowledgment.

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