‘Hot Bench’ star judge Tanya Acker makes her case for why court is a last resort, why viewers love her show and why you need to vote

‘Hot Bench’ star judge Tanya Acker makes her case for why court isn't always the best option in her new book Make Your Case. "If you feel like you've been wronged, you want some justice," Judge Acker says. "Sometimes it seems like court is the best way of getting someone's attention. It's always good to try to work it out. In my view court's really a last resort." Judge Acker also discussed why viewers love her show and why we all need to vote.

Video Transcript


TANYA ACKER: I wrote this book because I really want people to think carefully, not just about the time it takes to fight something in court, but their own time, TO have a realistic sense of what the process will require so you can make a better informed business judgment.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Hey, everybody, I'm bring Brittany Jones-Cooper. And today, I'm chatting with attorney Tanya Acker. You've likely seen her as a judge on the hit show "Hot Bench." And today, she's here to talk about her new book, "Make Your Case." Hey, Tanya, how you doing?

TANYA ACKER: Hey, Brittany, thanks for having me.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: I'm so happy you're here. Because I feel like this year specifically has been one that challenged what the average person knows about the law. Would you agree?

TANYA ACKER: Yeah, there's no question. I mean, even before we all found ourselves in this wild, surreal, sometimes seemingly-apocalyptic situation that we're in, people were already confronting huge problems.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: That's unfortunate. It's such an emotional experience, which is why I think your book will help a lot of people. Because you really help people decide whether or not they should really take their case to court or file a lawsuit. Why do you think this process is so intimidating for people?

TANYA ACKER: I think a lot of people, Brittany, frankly, just don't know what it is. I mean, I really come at this from the vantage point of having had several different roles in the law. Before the show, I was a lawyer. Now, on the show, I adjudicate. I arbitrate small-claims cases. And one thing that is really-- I know this is a common theme, is that it doesn't matter how much money you have, I don't care if you're suing over $10 million or $100. If you feel like you've been wronged, you want some justice.

Sometimes, it seems like court is the best way of getting someone's attention. It's always good to try to work it out. In my view, court's really a last resort.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Yeah, I mean, I knew I didn't know a lot before. And I read your book. And I learned so much. So can you take us through just some of the things that you lay out in the book that people will find interesting?

TANYA ACKER: One of the first things that I really try to get them to is time. Due process means that everybody has to have a fair opportunity to make their case and make their defense. So that means it's necessarily going to take longer. Two, when you're fighting in court, time means money. The time that your lawyer spends arguing with the other side over what questions he will and won't answer-- because, again, just because there are rules in court, it doesn't mean that people follow them.

Another thing, Brittany, I really want people to be prepared. Don't just show up with some secondary evidence. You want a document. You want a piece of paper. When we show up to either bring a case or defend against a case, we have certain constitutional guarantees that we are going to be treated fairly and objectively. And that's really what the evidence is about.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: "The Hot Bench" is such a popular show. You guys are in your seventh season. Why do you think it's still resonating with viewers in the way that it is?

TANYA ACKER: The cases that come on our show are the same sorts of cases that people deal with in real life. But they're also understanding and getting some insight into the decision making behind the solution. It was a novel concept when Judy came up with it. It was a novel concept when we got on the air seven seasons ago. It's still novel. I'm so proud of our show. I really am.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Absolutely. And on the topic of judges, our country is in the process of nominating a Supreme Court judge. What kind of things should we be looking out for? What questions should we be asking ourselves?

TANYA ACKER: That's a great question. And frankly, it's a great segue into voting. Our role in the process is to show up and vote. It's to educate ourselves. Right now, it seems uncertain what necessarily is going to happen with Judge Barrett's nomination. But there will be other Supreme Court vacancies. It will be the president for whom you vote who picks that candidate. It will be the senators for whom you vote who determine whether or not that judicial candidate goes to the court.

So even now we as citizens don't have a direct vote in terms of who sits on the high court, we have many, many ways of holding the process accountable.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Snap to that. "Make Your Case" is available wherever books are sold. And "Hot Bench" is everywhere. So check your local listings to see where you can watch it. And Tanya, thank you for joining us.

TANYA ACKER: Thank you, Brittany. I had a great time with you.