Good news: Obama promises Souter’s replacement will be big on “empathy”; Update: Will Graham block?

posted at 4:26 pm on May 1, 2009 by Allahpundit

Hey, empathy’s a good thing, right? Right — but not when it’s being used as code. Refresh your memory; The One’s fans will know exactly what he means he says this:

“I will seek somebody with a sharp and independent mind, and a record of excellence and integrity,” he said. “I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book, it is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives, whether they can make a living, and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes, and welcome in their own nation. I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with peoples hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.”

This isn’t a new theme for him: Orin Kerr’s post from last February about The One’s rhetoric on judicial appointments caught him hitting this point in his campaign speeches repeatedly. Sotomayor was sufficiently conservative-ish to be named a federal district court judge by Bush 41. Frankly, we might be lucky if that’s as far left as he goes with the first pick.

Update: A fascinating procedural quirk on the replacement’s confirmation via scholar Michael Dorf: In order to push the nomination out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Democrats need at least one Republican on the committee to approve the nominee. Specter normally would have been that one, but he’s a Democrat too now. Which means all eyes are on … Lindsey Graham.


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I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with peoples hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.

WTF.

lorien1973 on May 1, 2009 at 4:28 PM

Is he never off the television?

promachus on May 1, 2009 at 4:29 PM

I can’t watch him. Did he happen to mention the Constitution?

Rae on May 1, 2009 at 4:30 PM

At least this isn’t *too* big a change from Souter. Age will be about the only difference.

teke184 on May 1, 2009 at 4:30 PM

More likely to be an angry, touchy-feely, minority, lesbian activist more robotically obeisant to the ACLU than Buzzy Ginsburg? Change you can believe in. Soros didn’t by ‘bammy’s political party for independent minds.

viking01 on May 1, 2009 at 4:30 PM

Anyone remember this……..?

Seven Percent Solution on May 1, 2009 at 4:32 PM

Sotomayor was sufficiently conservative-ish to be named a federal district court judge by Bush 41.

So was Souter. How did that turn out?

promachus on May 1, 2009 at 4:32 PM

OPRAH….

phreshone on May 1, 2009 at 4:32 PM

I’m be thrilled if he (or she) were cold-blooded – but deeply attached to the fact the Constitution is the law of the land!

Empathetic? Not so much.

kybowexar on May 1, 2009 at 4:32 PM

Actually, Supreme Court nominees is exactly why I really care about who is president.

If we could stop living under the Supreme Court overlordship – that would be really nice.

kybowexar on May 1, 2009 at 4:34 PM

All you need to know about the pick was the intellectually vacant reasoning behind his “no” vote on Roberts.
America run by a Berkeley Poli-Sci professor- lovely.

jjshaka on May 1, 2009 at 4:34 PM

I can’t watch him. Did he happen to mention the Constitution?

Rae on May 1, 2009 at 4:30 PM

What, THAT old thing? Don’t you know? America has moved on! /sarc

RegularJoe on May 1, 2009 at 4:34 PM

I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with peoples hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.

As opposed to, you know…the rule of law or something. That’s kind of important too, I guess. Whatever.

OMG LOOK AT THE PUPPY!

The adults are in charge.

TheMightyMonarch on May 1, 2009 at 4:35 PM

“I will seek somebody with a sharp and independent mind, and a record of excellence and integrity,” he said.

Yeah – like Turbo Tax Timmy?

Sure – no worries

kybowexar on May 1, 2009 at 4:35 PM

How much empathy did Justice Souter have for Ms. Kelo of New London, CT? Enough to throw her out of her house…

Steve Z on May 1, 2009 at 4:36 PM

Is he never off the television?

promachus on May 1, 2009 at 4:29 PM

Hmmm .. maybe its advanced CGI avatar for George Soros? ;)

Cadian on May 1, 2009 at 4:36 PM

Can we make that “enchanted” empathy? The whole world is laughing and we don’t have a clue. If we survive as a nation, it will not be because of The One.

volsense on May 1, 2009 at 4:36 PM

Actually, Supreme Court nominees is are exactly why I really care about who is president.

If we could stop living under the Supreme Court overlordship – that would be really nice.

kybowexar on May 1, 2009 at 4:34 PM

I’m after Turbo Tax Timmy – but I need to learn use Grammar Check…

kybowexar on May 1, 2009 at 4:37 PM

How much empathy did Justice Souter have for Ms. Kelo of New London, CT? Enough to throw her out of her house…

Steve Z on May 1, 2009 at 4:36 PM

Truly…

Well the next one will have just as much empathy, you may begin to fear now.

kybowexar on May 1, 2009 at 4:38 PM

I just don’t think Obama will be able to help himself. He has always viewed SCOTUS as a key part of the overall plan to dramatically remake America (social justice, economic justice, all the things he espoused in that Naked Emperor News clip.)

This is Obama’s first chance to permanently alter the landscape of America. Electoral majorities are short-lived but SCOTUS justices are forever.

We’ll learn a lot more about Obama with this nominee.

BardMan on May 1, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Man this clown loves to be on TV. What next? American Idol ?

redrock on May 1, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Anyone worried yet?

upinak on May 1, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Which means all eyes are on … Lindsey Graham.

Well, as long as it’s a Republican we can all respect, love, and shows a lot of empathy himself…

kybowexar on May 1, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Empathy – my butt.
How about picking someone who is qualified? But oh no that would go against the entire liberal mindset that those who have been deemed failures by centuries of societies standards get to redefine what the real qualifications are and hence get to drag us down the sewer pipe of mediocrity.

dpierson on May 1, 2009 at 4:39 PM

My prediction is that he nominates William Ayres.

Percy_Peabody on May 1, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Question for our trolls: Should court decisions be based upon hopes/struggles or the law?

lorien1973 on May 1, 2009 at 4:40 PM

To a liberal, a judge should decide what the right answer is, then torture the law until it yeilds up the desired answer.

MarkTheGreat on May 1, 2009 at 4:40 PM

My prediction is that he nominates William Ayres.

Percy_Peabody on May 1, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Jesus help us!

upinak on May 1, 2009 at 4:40 PM

It’s disturbing how much his face is on my tv. I try to change the channel…but he’s everywhere.

Mommypundit on May 1, 2009 at 4:40 PM

I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with peoples hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.

WTF.

lorien1973 on May 1, 2009 at 4:28 PM

Translation: the Constitution and our laws are irrelevant, if they don’t return a verdict that lefties view as ‘just’.

Vashta.Nerada on May 1, 2009 at 4:40 PM

President Pantywaist, at it again. The law is mean, you know.

TheUnrepentantGeek on May 1, 2009 at 4:40 PM

Anyone worried yet?

upinak on May 1, 2009 at 4:38 PM

I’m past worried.

Ironically, our pastor is doing a month long series on worry from the Sermon on the Mount. So, worried is not it for me exactly – deeply concerned for what is left of our civil liberties and the Constitution? Yeah.

Not quite willing to run off to the hills of Montana or Utah, but dangnabbit – it is really a revolting development. (No pun intended.)

kybowexar on May 1, 2009 at 4:41 PM

Which means all eyes are on … Lindsey Graham.

He’ll fold like a cheap lawn chair when it matters.

spmat on May 1, 2009 at 4:42 PM

Vashta.Nerada on May 1, 2009 at 4:40 PM

I understand what it means.

That’s the WTF.

So I guess anything goes now? If it makes you feel good, it’s legal?

lorien1973 on May 1, 2009 at 4:42 PM

How much empathy did Justice Souter have for Ms. Kelo of New London, CT? Enough to throw her out of her house…

Steve Z on May 1, 2009 at 4:36 PM

Why? Was she on the “Approved for Governmental Compassion” list (lessee, that’s gay, union member, illegal, non-Asian minority, college prof, vulgar artist, cop killer, enemy combatant — did I miss any)?

RegularJoe on May 1, 2009 at 4:42 PM

Obama said in today’s conference:

“I will seek somebody who is dedicated to the rule, who honors our constitutional traditions, who respects the integrity of the judicial process and the appropriate limits of the judicial role. I will seek somebody who shares my respect for constitutional values on which this nation was founded and who brings a thoughtful understanding on how to apply them in our time.”

He always leaves himself an out. Or, shoudl I say he many times attempts to sound conservative, but with an escape hatch for his statist ways.

WashJeff on May 1, 2009 at 4:42 PM

Are you listening, Beltway Republicans?:

What Republicans should do instead is force a full public debate about constitutional interpretation and judicial philosophy, laying out in vivid detail what kind of judges they want. Instead of shrilly opposing whomever Obama nominates on partisan grounds, now is the time to show the American people the stark differences between the two parties on one of the few issues on which the stated Republican view continues to command strong and steady support nationwide. If the party is serious about constitutionalism and the rule of law, it should use this opportunity for education, not grandstanding.

Rae on May 1, 2009 at 4:43 PM

empathy is a good thing for your local traffic judge or even the highest trial court in your state. empathy is totally unnecessary at the appellate level because they don’t deal with real people or live testimony; they deal only in issues.

the Constitution & whether he/she is a strict constructionist or not should be the consideration.

kelley in virginia on May 1, 2009 at 4:43 PM

Ironically, our pastor is doing a month long series on worry from the Sermon on the Mount. So, worried is not it for me exactly – deeply concerned for what is left of our civil liberties and the Constitution? Yeah.

Not quite willing to run off to the hills of Montana or Utah, but dangnabbit – it is really a revolting development. (No pun intended.)

kybowexar on May 1, 2009 at 4:41 PM

Stay out of Utah. Thanks.

The Wall on May 1, 2009 at 4:43 PM

If it makes you feel good, it’s legal?

lorien1973 on May 1, 2009 at 4:42 PM

More like – if it makes a twisted lefty feel good, it’s legal.

Vashta.Nerada on May 1, 2009 at 4:43 PM

McKinney

Ronnie on May 1, 2009 at 4:43 PM

Question for our trolls: Should court decisions be based upon hopes/struggles or the law?

lorien1973 on May 1, 2009 at 4:40 PM

Lorien – that is not a fair question to ask trolls, it requires thinking about their feelings in a way that might cause some reflection that does not take into account of their inner child or past life experience.

Have you no decency, sir!

You need to work on your empathy.

kybowexar on May 1, 2009 at 4:43 PM

Man this clown loves to be on TV. What next? American Idol ?

redrock on May 1, 2009 at 4:38 PM

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/entertainment/President_Obama_To_Visit__American_Idol__.html

thomasaur on May 1, 2009 at 4:43 PM

You know what we really need more of?
Obama.
TV
Newspapers
Internet
Magazines

carbon_footprint on May 1, 2009 at 4:44 PM

Rule of law? What’s this thing called “rule of law”?

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on May 1, 2009 at 4:44 PM

Stay out of Utah. Thanks.

The Wall on May 1, 2009 at 4:43 PM

I’m guessing your already in Utah – well that explains a lot right there.

Have you considered Lorien’s question yet?

kybowexar on May 1, 2009 at 4:44 PM

Is Magic Eight Ball available?

fogw on May 1, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Could be worse…..Supreme Court Justice Bill Ayers

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on May 1, 2009 at 4:45 PM

The astounding (and scary) fact that Heller was only 5-4 in favor of individual guns rights should have the hair on your neck standing up. It should have been unamimous.

All it takes is one nut leftist to change that … then we go to war.

darwin on May 1, 2009 at 4:45 PM

thomasaur on May 1, 2009 at 4:43 PM

I love American Idol. If he goes on, I will tune out. WTF, doesn’t he have to work? America elected a buffoon.

jencab on May 1, 2009 at 4:46 PM

Did BillyJeff or Sandy Burglar ever get their law licenses back?

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on May 1, 2009 at 4:46 PM

Expect someone that will correct that “original stain” in the Constitution.

faraway on May 1, 2009 at 4:46 PM

Is Magic Eight Ball available?

fogw on May 1, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Overqualified in comparison – would make the short list of nominees feel bad.

Vashta.Nerada on May 1, 2009 at 4:46 PM

So that really just means a judge should judge on feelings rather than actual, you know, law. Freakin’ progressives.

kirkill on May 1, 2009 at 4:46 PM

Is Magic Eight Ball available?

fogw on May 1, 2009 at 4:45 PM

I sense a new novalty product, the Tragic ONE Ball.

WashJeff on May 1, 2009 at 4:46 PM

Hey, empathy’s a good thing, right? Right — but not when it’s being used as code.

Wrong. Empathy should never drive national policy, code or not. In particular, empathy should never appear in a judge’s decision-making and anyone who claims so should never be allowed to call himself a lawyer, or even a law student. This is the difference between a nation of laws and a nation of men.

This ain’t rocket science, here.

progressoverpeace on May 1, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Does a SC Justice have to have a law degree?

Vince on May 1, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Which means all eyes are on … Lindsey Graham.

Who is basking in the sudden glowing love from all the conservatives.

lorien1973 on May 1, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Souter’s replacement will be a malignant Socialist Idiot.
Obama surrounds himself with “useful idiots”. A Lenin Quote.

old trooper2 on May 1, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Somebody please tell Obama he’s appointing a Supreme Court Justice not a neighborhood social worker. We are in deep smelly stuff.

rplat on May 1, 2009 at 4:48 PM

Does a SC Justice have to have a law degree?

Vince on May 1, 2009 at 4:47 PM

It’s not specified in the Constitution.

Vashta.Nerada on May 1, 2009 at 4:48 PM

Perez Hilton

Ronnie on May 1, 2009 at 4:48 PM

I believe that anything he says about what kind a person he is looking for is a lie. Just like all his other lies.

Empathy isn’t what we need. We need someone who will uphold the constitution and the laws as they are written. Not as they want to interpret them.

sadatoni on May 1, 2009 at 4:48 PM

if bambi is smart, he’ll find someone squeaky clean (that means totally unlike anyone else in his administration) with only academic or appellate experience. those 2 things are the hardest to challenge. and i mean an academic experience where this nominee didn’t write anything weird.

kelley in virginia on May 1, 2009 at 4:48 PM

Does a SC Justice have to have a law degree?

Vince on May 1, 2009 at 4:47 PM

No. There are no academic or professional requirements for a SCOTUS justice – they just have to get past the Senate.

progressoverpeace on May 1, 2009 at 4:48 PM

Have you considered Lorien’s question yet?

kybowexar on May 1, 2009 at 4:44 PM

What the hell is this geeko talking about?

The Wall on May 1, 2009 at 4:49 PM

Actually, I’m sure it does not have to be an American. Might as well bring in someone who better understand how the world views the rights of man.

Ask Ginsberg, I’m sure she’s got someone in mind already.

/sarc – and going to be ill with the thought

kybowexar on May 1, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Michelle Obama Hillary Clinton Caroline Kennedy or Katie Couric

eaglewingz08 on May 1, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Could be worse…..Supreme Court Justice Bill Ayers

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on May 1, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Cwac.. hunny. Say that again I will come hunt you down!

upinak on May 1, 2009 at 4:50 PM

How much, in dollar terms, do you have to cheat on your taxes to be considered by barry for a nomination? Just curious.

Vashta.Nerada on May 1, 2009 at 4:50 PM

“I will seek somebody with a sharp and independent mind, and a record of excellence and integrity…..blah blah blah”

equals

legislating from the bench.

shick on May 1, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Obama and his “unprecedented” search of a Supreme Court Justice….

Everything is unprecedented with this idiot.

Caper29 on May 1, 2009 at 4:51 PM

Everything is unprecedented with this idiot.

Caper29 on May 1, 2009 at 4:51 PM

Don’t be so harsh – this is the first real job he has ever held.

Vashta.Nerada on May 1, 2009 at 4:52 PM

kybowexar on May 1, 2009 at 4:50 PM

It should be someone who speaks english as a second language. Or, better yet, doesn’t speak english at all.

That way, the supreme court will be like when I call my bank with a question.

lorien1973 on May 1, 2009 at 4:52 PM

My money’s on Sotomayor. Hatch, Collins, and Snowe voted yes on her confirmation to the 2nd Circuit…so goodbye Judiciary Committee block, and forget the fillibuster. Besides, Sotomayor’s nomination opens up a whole other discussion.

Kid from Brooklyn on May 1, 2009 at 4:52 PM

Too bad Johnny Cochran is deceased; he would have been perfect.

carbon_footprint on May 1, 2009 at 4:52 PM

whether they feel safe in their homes, and welcome in their own nation.

Since Obama took office I do not feel welcome in my own nation… and I am beginning to feel I have to hide in my house from the tyranny that has taken over my nation.

petunia on May 1, 2009 at 4:53 PM

understand what it means.

That’s the WTF.

So I guess anything goes now?

lorien1973 on May 1, 2009 at 4:42 PM

understand what it means.

That’s the WTF.

So I guess anything goes now? If it makes you feel good, it’s legal?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKQ1F9DuVsE

The Wall on May 1, 2009 at 4:53 PM

but let’s hope that he nominates someone with the same or worse problems that turbo tax timmy or bill richardson or some of the others had so that we can make hay out of it.

and make hay we should!

kelley in virginia on May 1, 2009 at 4:53 PM

This was my favorite line:

[Souter] never sought to promote a political agenda and he consistently defied labels and rejected absolutes

…ya know, like the Constitution.

29Victor on May 1, 2009 at 4:54 PM

Big on empathy?

Let the penumbras gleam.

Let the law be damned.

And that Constitution? Seems I recall a document of some sort back in the day called something like that…haven’t seen much of it lately.

coldwarrior on May 1, 2009 at 4:54 PM

No. There are no academic or professional requirements for a SCOTUS justice – they just have to get past the Senate.

progressoverpeace on May 1, 2009 at 4:48 PM

The Constitution has no requirements whatsoever (not even age) for SCOTUS. Have a pulse and get pass the Senate.

Look for him to appoint only 20-something year-olds. /sarc

WashJeff on May 1, 2009 at 4:55 PM

The Wall on May 1, 2009 at 4:53 PM

never liked ac/dc.

lorien1973 on May 1, 2009 at 4:55 PM

I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with peoples hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.

See the problem here is Obama really believes it to be a particular judges job to decide what is and what is not “just.” Empathy and feelings are supposed to facilitate their quest to define “just.” Our founding fathers, on the other hand, believed that what is or isn’t “just” should be determined by the voters. The judges job is to apply the voters definition of “just” to a particular case.

If Obama has his way and stacks the court with his picks, the Constitution will be, from that moment forward, meaningless.

Zetterson on May 1, 2009 at 4:55 PM

I love American Idol. If he goes on, I will tune out. WTF, doesn’t he have to work? America elected a buffoon.

jencab on May 1, 2009 at 4:46 PM

My wife gets home today and I am going to have to break this news to her. She will not be pleased.

thomasaur on May 1, 2009 at 4:56 PM

promachus on May 1, 2009 at 4:29 PM

NO, no he is not.

Cindy Munford on May 1, 2009 at 4:56 PM

Elections have consequences.
Senator Barbara Boxer on March 21, 2007

…and we’re loving it!

benny shakar on May 1, 2009 at 4:57 PM

who does he owe? other than soros, i mean? look there first.

kelley in virginia on May 1, 2009 at 4:57 PM

Obama said in today’s conference:

“I will seek somebody who is dedicated to the rule, who honors our constitutional traditions, who respects the integrity of the judicial process and the appropriate limits of the judicial role. I will seek somebody who shares my respect for constitutional values on which this nation was founded and who brings a thoughtful understanding on how to apply them in our time.”

WashJeff on May 1, 2009 at 4:42 PM

Parse those words and therein you will find his disclaimer: Obama does NOT RESPECT the constitutional values on which this nation was founded… so the person he picks will, likewise, not respect them.

Logic on May 1, 2009 at 4:58 PM

OT from Drudge – O might appear on Idol next week – BARF!

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/entertainment/President_Obama_To_Visit__American_Idol__.html#KGYRsTDHkD3jDj5BoCOmHg3JF6EB

ProudPalinFan on May 1, 2009 at 4:58 PM

never liked ac/dc.

lorien1973 on May 1, 2009 at 4:55 PM

That pretty much says it all dude.

Yeah, I will be in row 6 on the floor when they come to anaheim. Yeah, its a gonna rock!!

The Wall on May 1, 2009 at 4:58 PM

I sense a new novalty product, the Tragic ONE Ball.

WashJeff on May 1, 2009 at 4:46 PM

Awesome.

myrenovations on May 1, 2009 at 4:58 PM

Well at least one good thing… sometimes judges change after they get on the court… so I hope he chooses someone who pretends empathy but secretly feels the beauty and logic of our Constitution and will only be happy with decisions that conform in all ways with the Constitution.

petunia on May 1, 2009 at 4:58 PM

I can’t watch him. Did he happen to mention the Constitution?

Rae on May 1, 2009 at 4:30 PM

He’s trying to lay some optimistic groundwork for his appointment. Paying lip service to the enemy would only sully the occasion, don’t you think?

Blacklake on May 1, 2009 at 4:58 PM

Well – considering the actual requirements (in the Constitution) and the even more important requirements of the people of America…

I give you Perez Hilton!

Now that’s a Supreme Court nominee we can all get behind – just don’t let him behind you.

kybowexar on May 1, 2009 at 4:58 PM

How much, in dollar terms, do you have to cheat on your taxes to be considered by barry for a nomination? Just curious.

Vashta.Nerada on May 1, 2009 at 4:50 PM

In this case it’ll be based on how many laws have they broken.

thevastlane on May 1, 2009 at 4:59 PM

I don’t think the Republicans will stand in the way of any of his nominees. Right now it is just a liberal exchange so they will advise and consent. Now if he gets several more opportunities it will be interesting to see. Hopefully no more until after 2010 on the chance that Republicans pick up more seats in the Senate.

Cindy Munford on May 1, 2009 at 4:59 PM

if bambi is smart, he’ll find someone squeaky clean (that means totally unlike anyone else in his administration) with only academic or appellate experience. those 2 things are the hardest to challenge. and i mean an academic experience where this nominee didn’t write anything weird.

kelley in virginia on May 1, 2009 at 4:48 PM

You would think so, but I’ll bet he won’t. T]his is the thing that makes me crazy with Obama: he just can’t seem to overplay his hand. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him nominate somebody just freakin’ insane left-wing — Bill Ayers-style insane left-wing — and turn on the news to see that 70% of the country thinks it’s the most brilliant choice in history, and 25% think his tush looks good in the pants he’s wearing. I think sometimes he just gets off on making America eat a bug, just because he can.

RegularJoe on May 1, 2009 at 5:00 PM

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