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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Comment pages: 1 2

Souter is just another in a line of narcissistic asses who believe they are above the Constitution and the Founding Fathers who wrote that Constitution. (As if anyone alive in this Country has anywhere NEAR the brilliance of out Founding Fathers!)
Souter is a rube in a robe and O’bunghole will appoint ANOTHER rube in a robe who believes they are supperior to the Constitution.

nelsonknows on May 1, 2009 at 5:01 PM

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

Arent they like 80 years old now?

“You’re living in the past, man. You’re hung up on some clown from the ‘60s, man!” (Said by Jon Faveau, as Eric the Clown!)

lorien1973 on May 1, 2009 at 5:01 PM

I will seek somebody who shares my respect for Constitutional values on which this nation was founded.

– The Precedent, today

So, how much respect does the moron-in-chief have for this nation’s values?

But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. And to that extent as radical as people tried to characterize the Warren court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as it’s been interpreted, and the Warren court interpreted it in the same way that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties.

So, breaking free from the from the ESSENTIAL constraints that the founders placed in the Constitution is the only thing that would characterize a court as even approaching ‘radical’, according to the moron in the White House? That would be a criminal court, to put it succinctly and correctly.

Clearly, The Precedent is looking for a justice who has NO RESPECT, whatsoever, for the Constitution and our founding principles. I hope leftist turds start getting grilled on this. Let them defend “rule by empathy” out loud.

progressoverpeace on May 1, 2009 at 5:01 PM

whether they feel safe in their homes

What does that mean?

Does it mean he rejects the Kelo v. New London decision, and supports our right to defend our property with force if necessary?

Rae on May 1, 2009 at 5:02 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

He may do yet do that – but in order to get a less insane person in as the “compromise” selection.

kybowexar on May 1, 2009 at 5:02 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

That’s why he’s The Precedent.

progressoverpeace on May 1, 2009 at 5:03 PM

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

ProudPalinFan on May 1, 2009 at 4:58 PM

Maybe he’s scoping out the judges for SCOTUS. Somebody on his staff better tell him Simon’s not an American before he makes an ass of himself!

Blacklake on May 1, 2009 at 5:03 PM

Logic on May 1, 2009 at 4:58 PM

I missed the my respect for the Consitution phrase. Why does one need to use the word “my”? The obivious answer is you do not, unless you do not respect the Constituion. Good catch.

WashJeff on May 1, 2009 at 5:03 PM

Obama’s choices will make the most liberal judge now on the court to look like the far right and he will get 2 more before the end of the year. You ain’t seen nothing yet. All three branches of government in his pocket.

rsl775 on May 1, 2009 at 5:04 PM

Constitutional values? I guess it’s good that he mentioned the constitution, but it’s about more than just values, is it not?

thevastlane on May 1, 2009 at 5:04 PM

Lets hope his SCOTUS vetters are as efficient as his Cabinet vetters.

AverageJoe on May 1, 2009 at 5:05 PM

Supreme Court Justice Jackie Chiles

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on May 1, 2009 at 5:05 PM

So has Obama given up on the teleprompter?

He’s reading from notes, how novel.

Otis B on May 1, 2009 at 5:05 PM

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

Allah, you ought to recall that district judge picks are heavily — repeat, heavily — influenced by the state’s senators. In NY, Moynihan and D’Amato used to have a deal that the senator of the same party as the president would get 3 of 4 picks, with the fourth going to the other senator. The president rarely interfered. I don’t remember the timing on SS, but my guess is that this deal applied then. A little more research would probably document that she was a Pat Moynihan special.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on May 1, 2009 at 5:06 PM

ProudPalinFan on May 1, 2009 at 4:58 PM

Good thing I don’t watch!

upinak on May 1, 2009 at 5:06 PM

So whom will ACORN nominate?

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on May 1, 2009 at 5:06 PM

This is the difference between a nation of laws and a nation of men.
progressoverpeace on May 1, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Where is this in the Constitution?

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 5:07 PM

Why does [the] one need to use the word “my”?
WashJeff on May 1, 2009 at 5:03 PM

Doesn’t everything revolve around him?

AverageJoe on May 1, 2009 at 5:07 PM

I wonder what she’s up to these days?

benny shakar on May 1, 2009 at 5:08 PM

Where is this in the Constitution?

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 5:07 PM

What are you, my pet or something?

progressoverpeace on May 1, 2009 at 5:09 PM

I wonder what she’s up to these days?

benny shakar on May 1, 2009 at 5:08 PM

I hate to admit – her name went through my mind too.

However I also thought about all those Clinton picks and their nannies.

Ironic isn’t it? The people who want to be our nannies have scandals about their own nannies.

kybowexar on May 1, 2009 at 5:09 PM

Arent they like 80 years old now?

“You’re living in the past, man. You’re hung up on some clown from the ‘60s, man!” (Said by Jon Faveau, as Eric the Clown!)

lorien1973 on May 1, 2009 at 5:01 PM

Yeah, they are older now but it is amazing how Angus is still running around duck-walking and head-banging in a way that the new bands could only dream. Even today, they are the greatest concert band and they are FRICKIN on tour. I have seen them in their last 4 tours and they dont come around much anymore so unless you want to feel sorry for yourself in 20 years when they are gone..you FRICKIN go see AC/DC.

The Wall on May 1, 2009 at 5:10 PM

Ok, since I am from Puerto Rico I can dig on this:

The fact that a female, from Puerto Rico, American 100% by birth could be chosen (or the MSM does) I feel good about.

BUT

1) For us in PR, it is important credentials, legal background, affiliations, clubs/organizations that she might have.

2) Then we look at the soundness of her family structure, her world view, her upbringing.

3)Then we look at all the important or not so important cases she’s handled, from the least to the most significant that has impacted her career, one way or another.

4)What she brings to the table MUST NOT be subject to what the President wants, but we all know, being picked by POTUS or TOTUS means she has to be very careful about how she conducts herself. She is representing Puerto Rico first, the US legal system, and above all, USA and all Americans.

I will read on see if I missed anything. Let me know if you have questions.

ProudPalinFan on May 1, 2009 at 5:10 PM

Specter normally would have been that one, but he’s a Democrat too now.

Bwaaaahaaahaaa!

This made my day.

landshark on May 1, 2009 at 5:11 PM

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 5:07 PM

where is empathy in the constitution?

lorien1973 on May 1, 2009 at 5:11 PM

“Empathy” is the last thing we should be looking for in an appellate judge. A good judge is objective and dispassionate and applies the law fairly to both parties, regardless of whether or not the judge feels sympathetic or empathic towards one party more than the other.

A judge who personally identifies with one party whom the judge views as being a member of an “oppressed” class (e.g., minority, gay, handicapped, etc.) and who allows those feelings of empathy to affect his/her decision in the case is a judge who should have recused him/herself before ever hearing the appeal in the first place.

AZCoyote on May 1, 2009 at 5:12 PM

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.

For purposes of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I don’t think that’s correct. Specter is, for now, still the ranking Republican on the Committee.

paul006 on May 1, 2009 at 5:13 PM

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 5:07 PM

where is empathy in the constitution?

lorien1973 on May 1, 2009 at 5:11 PM

but Lorien you ask that because you are one of us who bitterly cling to a old piece of paper and use archaic things like laws to consider ideas.

You just don’t understand.

kybowexar on May 1, 2009 at 5:14 PM

Whomever the “great” O’bunghole nominates will believe they are ABOVE the Constitution instead of ENFORCING and PROTECTING the Constitution as their office demands.

nelsonknows on May 1, 2009 at 5:16 PM

This is the difference between a nation of laws and a nation of men.
progressoverpeace on May 1, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Where is this in the Constitution?

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 5:07 PM

Google “Bill of Rights”. It consists of ten “amendments” that limit the government’s ability to deny individual rights, and is the reason why we are a nation of laws. If government were not so constrained, then the men (not to exclude females) who officiate over the government would be able to tyrannize their fellows.

Which explains why tyrants prefer to marginalize the Constitution, or make it sufficiently malleable as to be meaningless.

But that really kind of misses the question that was posed earlier: should the Supremes act based upon their own feelings or the Constitution?

RegularJoe on May 1, 2009 at 5:17 PM

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

ProudPalinFan on May 1, 2009 at 4:58 PM

I swear to Grandma- Obama has got to be the biggest attention whore of all times! If he can’t get attention by pre-empting Idol, he decides he has to appear on it??
W.T.F.?

Since when did the POTUS become a pop culture phenom? Oh that’s right- back in November, I remember now.

anniekc on May 1, 2009 at 5:22 PM

I wonder what she’s up to these days?

benny shakar on May 1, 2009 at 5:08 PM

On behalf of 99% of Republicans and Conservatives, along with probably about the same percentage of Democrats and Liberals, let me just say thank goodness she is NOT on the SCOTUS.

But that’s a total red-herring issue. It has nothing to do with the question at hand. She was not a lousy choice because of any opinion or judicial philosophy she had, but because she was a laughably unqualified political hack. That was the one time I wondered if George had gotten back on the bottle.

So, back to the question at hand: do you think Obama should choose a justice who will apply the Constitution, or one who will apply their feelings? It’s so simple to answer. Here, I’ll make it even easier: just type “F” for feelings, or “C” for Constitution. C’mon, Benny!! YOU CAN DO IT!!

RegularJoe on May 1, 2009 at 5:25 PM

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.”

Translation – someone who has the “right” academic qualifications but is willing to ignore the Constitution because it isn’t relevant in Libland.

katiejane on May 1, 2009 at 5:41 PM

The only thing he shares with his potential nominee is arrogance concerning the founding fathers and a loathing of those with American values. This is like a nightmare you can’t wake up from.

volsense on May 1, 2009 at 5:43 PM

What about someone who understands the Constitution? Idiot!

orlandocajun on May 1, 2009 at 5:43 PM

This fits very well with his belief that the constitution is a living, breathing, real-life document that can be manipulated to fit the current, PC feelings of the day.

It’s “empathy” when a judge rules that it’s understandable and worthy of a slap on the wrist when some angry illegal immigrant shots me in the head when, as a white, middle-aged businessman, I insulted them when I asked to see a green card.

If a gay in drag asked the same and was shot for it, the perp would get the chair. Or actually, now that I think about it, there would be much angst and tears over how all parties were victums of white, middle aged businessmen.

That’s what Obama means by “empathy”. If you “feel” like I “feel” then you’re blessed with empathy. If you don’t then … well … you’re evil.

Rod on May 1, 2009 at 5:44 PM

What about someone who understands the Constitution? Idiot!

orlandocajun on May 1, 2009 at 5:43 PM

These leftist judges “Understand” the Constitution to the point that they “UNDERSTAND” that it takes the power away from them if they actually JUDGE using that Constitution.

nelsonknows on May 1, 2009 at 5:49 PM

Ogabe hates the fact that the constitution restricts the power of federal government. He would rather that it empower federal government to “help” the downtrodden and right social wrongs. That is, in fact, how he interprets the role of government and is moving forward with that philosophy regardless of the that tired old document. He is a grave danger to the freedom of all Americans.

SKYFOX on May 1, 2009 at 5:55 PM

Little Lindsey Graham will not block anything except maybe another sen. to get to the T.V. screen frist.He knows full well if he does this he will be taken of the A party list in D.C. and the New York times & Washington post will say bad things about him.His little ego can,t take that.

thmcbb on May 1, 2009 at 5:59 PM

Do I get to pick the black person I give my reparations to? If not, then, that sucks!

SouthernGent on May 1, 2009 at 6:02 PM

Is he never off the television?

promachus on May 1, 2009 at 4:29 PM

That’s not fair, at least for today. May 1st has a long history as a Communist holiday.

Why shouldn’t he celebrate by going on television?

malclave on May 1, 2009 at 6:04 PM

This is great fun! We get to watch O’Bonehead demonstrate his utter ignorance of the U.S. Constitution, while listening to his drones in the media gasp about his constitutional law brilliance (!) and start a new round of “HE WAS A CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO!!!” nonsense.

We, in our scotch-and-cigars-conservative-smugness get to laugh our butts off and post videos of Peter Robinson’s interview with Richard Epstein at the U of Chicago everywhere, and point to O’Bonehead’s vote against John Roberts and his filibuster against Sam Alito.

Buck Ofama. He’s a nitwit.

Jaibones on May 1, 2009 at 6:05 PM

Grahamnesty’s big shot!

He gets to be the center of media attention and respected/adored by the media for his statesmanship and historic augustness!

Or…he gets to redeem himself for a whole series of whiny, pansy liberal hissyfits by snapping one off in O’Bonehead’s tail, whereupon he will be forever reviled by every media supplicant in the world, right up until he switches parties and becomes a DemonRat.

Wonder which way it will go?

Jaibones on May 1, 2009 at 6:10 PM

I don’t know. I have to wonder what kind of nominee we can expect from Obama and can you block them all?

And if the nuclear option had gone through when Republicans had the majority, would that effect this process today?

Terrye on May 1, 2009 at 6:10 PM

Jaibones:

Graham voted against Obama’s economic bills and a lot of people said he would not.

Terrye on May 1, 2009 at 6:12 PM

After reading the main quotation it occurred to me that for all the times he has talked about justice, the word “truth” never seems to escape from President Obama’s teleprompter.

Ah well, who wants a judge stumbling around trying to arrive at the truth anyway? Better he should be tuning into people’s feelings.

I wonder how an Obama appointee would adjudicate a case such as King Solomon’s most famous. (Actually, I think I know and I shudder at the thought.)

Threshing Flora on May 1, 2009 at 6:28 PM

Which tax cheat does he have in mind?

jbh45 on May 1, 2009 at 6:38 PM

I wish just once, ONCE, the liberal justice that’s picked by a Dem president would go all bat****, like Souter and Stevens and Warren did after they were nominated by Republican presidents and confirmed, and proceed to vote in complete opposition to the way he or she promised.

exlibris on May 1, 2009 at 6:43 PM

where is empathy in the constitution?

lorien1973 on May 1, 2009 at 5:11 PM

It’s not in the Constitution. Just like what progressoverpeace referred to. Hence my point. Even when a “strict constitutionalist” attempts to make a legal argument, they inevitable must cite principles or ideas which are not actually in the Constitution.

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 6:56 PM

Obama read the teleprompter incorrectly. It said “E-M-P-T-Y”

- The Cat

MirCat on May 1, 2009 at 7:08 PM

It’s not in the Constitution. Just like what progressoverpeace referred to. Hence my point. Even when a “strict constitutionalist” attempts to make a legal argument, they inevitable must cite principles or ideas which are not actually in the Constitution.

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 6:56 PM

That’s idiotic. There is a difference between understanding a written law and disposing of it in favor of ones empathetic response. Every single English utterance, and every single statement in a field of human endeavor, includes a long list of implicit assumptions and knowledge (as language and knowledge doesn’t just pop up out of nowhere). So what? There is still meaning to English sentences and one is able to understand the meaning.

But, since you are pushing your idiotic line of thought, explain what the phrase “a nation of laws, not of men” means … if you can. It’s really not that difficult a concept. I know that there are a ton of implicit assumptions in that phrase and all sorts of possible interpretations, but maybe you could give it a try. Otherwise, you would be reduced to the point of being unable to “understand” the meaning of any English sentence … which might just be the case with you.

I wonder how you could get through any of these posts, and respond, with all the implicit assumptions and background knowledge needed to understand what anyone means … and all the possible interpretations … Your life must be very difficult.

progressoverpeace on May 1, 2009 at 7:09 PM

I can drive to SC quickly, Mr. Graham. Be sure you think about your confirmation vote.

ProudinNC on May 1, 2009 at 7:17 PM

It’s not in the Constitution. Just like what progressoverpeace referred to [“a nation of laws, not of men”]. Hence my point. Even when a “strict constitutionalist” attempts to make a legal argument, they inevitable must cite principles or ideas which are not actually in the Constitution.

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 6:56 PM

By the way, the phrase “a nation of laws, not of men” has nothing to do with the Constitution, specifically. It applies to a measure of any nation and its governance.

That’s why your particular comment about it not being in the Constitution is particularly stupid. You don’t understand the difference between a law in the system (The Constitution) and a principle of the system (a nation of laws, not men).

progressoverpeace on May 1, 2009 at 7:19 PM

Empathy is just fine. It’s who you empathize WITH that’s the issue.

jeanie on May 1, 2009 at 7:26 PM

That’s idiotic. There is a difference between understanding a written law and disposing of it in favor of ones empathetic response

Obama was advocating using empathy to understand and apply written law more effectively.
If you did go to law school (which I doubt), then you’ll appreciate this example I’ll use to demonstrate my point…
Let’s imagine a city ordinance making it a crime for anyone to purchase or rent a house in the city, or stay overnight in a renter or owner’s house without first obtaining the written approval of at least 2/3 of the people living within 500 feet. This rule would basically make an important part of every person’s liberty subject to the whims and prejudices of all those who live nearby. Yet this ordinance would not be unconstitutional according to anything actually written in the US Constitution. Still, many (including you if you have any sense) would argue that the ordinance violates the underlying principle that “we are a nation of laws and not of men”. This principle is not explicitly written in the Constitution, but it is deeply embedded and implied by the Constitution.

Obama is simply saying that empathy is as well, and that empathy can be employed to better interpret and apply laws.

(bonus challege: try to go a post without an ad hominem!)

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 7:26 PM

By the way, the phrase “a nation of laws, not of men” has nothing to do with the Constitution, specifically. It applies to a measure of any nation and its governance.

According to what? You’re just pulling it out of thin air! Like a typical liberal!

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 7:27 PM

Graham voted against Obama’s economic bills and a lot of people said he would not.

Terrye on May 1, 2009 at 6:12 PM

With all due respect, Terrye, I am aware that the Republican Senator from South Carolina does, on occasion, vote the interests of his constituents in concert with the party to which he belongs.

That you feel compelled to point that out is exactly the reason why this post by Allah exists, and why we are commenting on it. Grahamnesty is notoriously fickle on any issue in which his own personal interests conflict with conservatism or the GOP.

Jaibones on May 1, 2009 at 7:30 PM

I recall Michelle o’s remonstrance to hubby during the campaign: “Don’t think Barack, feel!” Funny how she couldn’t recall that as she pranced around a food bank in 500$ sneakers. Of course, most at the food bank probably thought they were Wal-Mart specials and ugly to boot. LOL

jeanie on May 1, 2009 at 7:30 PM

Obama was advocating using empathy to understand and apply written law more effectively.

“Apply written law more effectively”? So much for blind justice, huh? It all depends on who is in court and what they look like. Great. You people are too much.

If you did go to law school (which I doubt), then you’ll appreciate this example I’ll use to demonstrate my point…
Let’s imagine a city ordinance making it a crime for anyone to purchase or rent a house in the city, or stay overnight in a renter or owner’s house without first obtaining the written approval of at least 2/3 of the people living within 500 feet. This rule would basically make an important part of every person’s liberty subject to the whims and prejudices of all those who live nearby. Yet this ordinance would not be unconstitutional according to anything actually written in the US Constitution. Still, many (including you if you have any sense) would argue that the ordinance violates the underlying principle that “we are a nation of laws and not of men”. This principle is not explicitly written in the Constitution, but it is deeply embedded and implied by the Constitution.

Obama is simply saying that empathy is as well, and that empathy can be employed to better interpret and apply laws.

This falls under private property and is, first and foremost, a state issue, not a federal one. It is very much in the written law. There’s tons of law concerning private property and what the state can and can’t do to restrict the owner – though much of this has been trashed and burned in the insane smoking bans (which have done more to decimate the notion of private property rights than anything) that have wormed their way in on a health risk lie.

But, tell me, please, where do you see the “empathy” that is needed to arrive at the conclusion that I get to by private property? If I decide that I own an apartment and require all in the building to okay someone before they can move in, that should be my prerogative (and that is exactly what happens in New York co-ops, on a building level, by the way). If the state decides to make such a law, then the state is violating the owners’ private property rights and those laws can be found in every state.

(bonus challege: try to go a post without an ad hominem!)

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 7:26 PM

That was a moronic example you gave, as empathy was nowhere to be found in it. Are there principles behind written law? Yes. As I said, there are implicit assumptions behind every single thing we say or write. So?

Does empathy belong anywhere in a courtroom? No. That’s why lady justice is blindfolded, idiot. (That was an accurate description, not an ad-hominem)

progressoverpeace on May 1, 2009 at 7:40 PM

Obama is simply saying that empathy is as well, and that empathy can be employed to better interpret and apply laws.

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 7:26 PM

Cut to the chase and give me an example of a court case where empathy on the part of a judge leads to a correct determination fo the law. This is the main factor that The Precedent is going to use for his justices, so it must be pretty easy to come up with one or two actual cases where you saw a lack of empathy leading to an incorrect application of the law.

progressoverpeace on May 1, 2009 at 7:44 PM

That was a moronic example you gave, as empathy was nowhere to be found in it. Are there principles behind written law? Yes. As I said, there are implicit assumptions behind every single thing we say or write.

Ok. It’s a bit of a process but I think you’re starting to get there. So you agree that a justice can use principles to guide their decisions which are not actually written law?

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 7:46 PM

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 7:46 PM

Only, only if the conclusions arrived at by this process do not weaken, contradict, negate or second guess the whole or any part of the law.

jeanie on May 1, 2009 at 7:49 PM

Cut to the chase and give me an example of a court case where empathy on the part of a judge leads to a correct determination fo the law. This is the main factor that The Precedent is going to use for his justices, so it must be pretty easy to come up with one or two actual cases where you saw a lack of empathy leading to an incorrect application of the law.

progressoverpeace on May 1, 2009 at 7:44 PM

Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District No. 1 (2007). In this case Roberts idiotically equated the plight of Linda Brown (who was ordered to attend a Jim Crow school in the 1950′s) to the circumstances of Joshua McDonald (a white kid whose request to transfer to a school closer to his home was denied in the 2000′s). If Roberts had empathy (or common sense for that manner) he would realize how absurd and offensive this is. The ability to empathize with all parts of the population (in this case, a white man on the supreme court being able to empathize with black kids in the inner city) is invaluable in contemporary law.

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 7:52 PM

Only, only if the conclusions arrived at by this process do not weaken, contradict, negate or second guess the whole or any part of the law.

jeanie on May 1, 2009 at 7:49 PM

Sure. So then your quibble with using “empathy” can’t really be valid until you feel it is incorrectly used right? So why all the hysterics from everyone in the thread about empathy “not being in the constitution”?

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 7:54 PM

If Roberts had empathy (or common sense for that manner) he would realize how absurd and offensive this is.

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 7:52 PM

That was a joke example, right? You are basically just saying that no white guy can “empathize” with any black. Okay. So you probably think that blacks should only be judged by blacks, right? Only those who can “empathize”. You’ll go far with moronic ideas like that. Laws are not written for interest groups, genius. That’s what “Equal Protection” is all about.

The fact that you were “offended” by Roberts’ reference has nothing to do with ruling on law. Get a brain, man.

progressoverpeace on May 1, 2009 at 8:02 PM

And, crr6, I’m still waiting for you to explain what you think “a nation of laws, not of men” means. It really shouldn’t be that difficult. Really.

progressoverpeace on May 1, 2009 at 8:05 PM

That was a joke example, right? You are basically just saying that no white guy can “empathize” with any black. Okay. So you probably think that blacks should only be judged by blacks, right? Only those who can “empathize”. You’ll go far with moronic ideas like that. Laws are not written for interest groups, genius. That’s what “Equal Protection” is all about.

Um no, I’m not saying that. In fact 4 white justices had a great deal more empathy than Roberts did. But hey, you can’t seem to win an argument without a strawman, so more power to you. You asked for an example, I gave it. Thanks for playing.

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 8:08 PM

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 7:54 PM
Well, firstly it was not my quibble. I am somewhat late to the bulk of this thread. Secondly, of course ones ‘feelings’ if you will, would be a component in any decision but the letter of the law MUST overide these if they in any way conflict. While an ‘empathic’ judge might be acceptable, this must not be his sole or main criteria for decision making.

jeanie on May 1, 2009 at 8:14 PM

Obama said

“[Gibbs is] doing an unbelievable job” (emphasis his)

Heh. Passive aggressive? Teh One? Nah.

In any case, I agree heartily with the President. Robert Gibbs is an unbelievable spokesman for the WH.

inviolet on May 1, 2009 at 8:40 PM

Empathy is all fine and well for a family court judge, but has no place in the considerations of a supreme court judge. Empathy on the federal level is for the legislature and Presidential pardons, not the judiciary.

Count to 10 on May 1, 2009 at 8:42 PM

inviolet on May 1, 2009 at 8:40 PM

Yes, he’s quite gifted at saying little and making it last quite a long time while he does it.

jeanie on May 1, 2009 at 8:43 PM

This should be more scary than people realize. Granted, it’s just one lib replacing another, NOW… but he’ll likely have a few more SC nominees before it’s all said and done.

Why more scary, you ask? Because if you recall, after The One told Joe the Plumber that he wanted to “spread the wealth”, a tape of a radio interview he’d done in Chicago surfaced in which he expresses his disappointment at the fact that courts haven’t been involved in redistribution of wealth

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/10/27/smells-like-socialist-spirit/

You think the not so secret socialist has weakened in that stance? I think not. He’s already realized his dreams of fundamentally changing, thereby destroying this country in many other ways. Why stop there?

All Hail The High Chancellor!

RightWinged on May 1, 2009 at 9:00 PM

Empathy is all fine and well for a family court judge, but has no place in the considerations of a supreme court judge. Empathy on the federal level is for the legislature and Presidential pardons, not the judiciary.

Count to 10 on May 1, 2009 at 8:42 PM

TOTUS said during his presser wednesday that “Churchill doesn’t torture”; and the MSM keeps telling us how smart obama is!

TN Mom on May 1, 2009 at 9:00 PM

If the Supreme Court, and, our entire judicial system, for that matter, or any part of it, focused on “empathy,” there would be no justice.

Imagine, for example, a defendant facing eviction for non-payment of a mortgage for nearly a year. Empathy says, the guy’s gotta live somewhere. Justice says, under contract law, a person willingly entering in to that contract is responsible for following the letter of that contract unless allowed by mutual consent of all parties to that contract to abrogate his responsibilities.

Imagine a nation where the most pitiful/sympathetic defendants are exonerated from all responsibility for crimes or other mischief under law, and the less sympathetic defendants are punished…not for any violation of law, but merely because they did not inspire “empathy?”

Looking at the housing crisis and subsequent housing bailout…and the root causes for the necessity of that bailout, and the very idea that government can compel a bank to re-write a mortgage, for example, seems we are already well on our way to that point where justice is subjective…and in effect, there is no justice.

This is the Pandora’s Box Obama has opened with his comment on “empathy.”

coldwarrior on May 1, 2009 at 9:02 PM

Even when a “strict constitutionalist” attempts to make a legal argument, they inevitable must cite principles or ideas which are not actually in the Constitution.

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 6:56 PM

This isn’t quite accurate. Let’s give a simple example.

The ban on automatic weapons, right?

Second amendment is quite clear the “congress shall make no law…”

Someone who is guided by empathy would decide that “well, firearms do kill people, so is justified here…” even though its clearly opposed in the constitution.

In a more broad sense, a judge who is guided by “empathy/hopes” cannot possibly make decisions that are uniformly applied across the board. He’d make legal concessions to those who he empathized with or had good intentions.

If you want a legal system that is uniformly applied to everyone, strict interpretation is the only way to go. It really should be common sense.

The legal system is supposed to prevent chaos, not cause it.

lorien1973 on May 1, 2009 at 9:03 PM

O/T
I just found out Obama’s pick for the supreme court. I can’t recall her first name but her last name is Sotomayer. Just the way that sounds is amusing.

FontanaConservative on May 1, 2009 at 9:12 PM

Obama promises Souter’s replacement will be big on “empathy”

Yah, big on “empathy” for Obama and whatever he wants to do, not big on “empathy” for the U.S. Constitution..

MB4 on May 1, 2009 at 9:20 PM

He should appoint Judge Judy.

bookman on May 1, 2009 at 10:05 PM

This just boils my blood.

OneGyT on May 1, 2009 at 10:42 PM

Like I stated earlier, Souter is a narcissistic “Rube in a Robe” who think he is ABOVE the Constitution.

crr6 on May 1, 2009 at 7:26 PM

WRONG: Subjects not directly covered in the Constitution are directly given to the STATE and to the PEOPLE in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.
Try actually READING the Constitution, PLEASE.

nelsonknows on May 2, 2009 at 12:39 AM

WRONG: Subjects not directly covered in the Constitution are directly given to the STATE and to the PEOPLE in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.
Try actually READING the Constitution, PLEASE.

nelsonknows on May 2, 2009 at 12:39 AM

(sigh). Right. Let’s say the state has no law against the city ordinance. There is nothing in the Constitution to invalidate the law.

crr6 on May 2, 2009 at 12:44 AM

Well, firstly it was not my quibble. I am somewhat late to the bulk of this thread. Secondly, of course ones ‘feelings’ if you will, would be a component in any decision but the letter of the law MUST overide these if they in any way conflict. While an ‘empathic’ judge might be acceptable, this must not be his sole or main criteria for decision making.

jeanie on May 1, 2009 at 8:14 PM

I agree with that. I don’t think Obama would argue that empathy should be the sole criteria for decision making either.

crr6 on May 2, 2009 at 12:49 AM

Souter is just another in a line of narcissistic asses who believe they are above the Constitution and the Founding Fathers who wrote that Constitution. (As if anyone alive in this Country has anywhere NEAR the brilliance of out Founding Fathers!)
Souter is a rube in a robe and O’bunghole will appoint ANOTHER rube in a robe who believes they are supperior to the Constitution.

nelsonknows on May 1, 2009 at 5:01 PM

I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.
- John F. Kennedy (to a assembled group of scholars in the White House)

MB4 on May 2, 2009 at 12:58 AM

crr6 on May 2, 2009 at 12:44 AM

Again WRONG, if you don’t think a Housing Associating cannot block someone from renting or buying a home, you are SADLY out of touch with reality and sadly mistaken.

nelsonknows on May 2, 2009 at 12:59 AM

Again WRONG, if you don’t think a Housing Associating cannot block someone from renting or buying a home, you are SADLY out of touch with reality and sadly mistaken.

nelsonknows on May 2, 2009 at 12:59 AM

The city ordinance I described applied to the entire city, not just a “Housing Associating”.

crr6 on May 2, 2009 at 1:19 AM

We need a Supreme Court Justice with SWAGGA!

76United on May 2, 2009 at 8:56 AM

What about someone who understands the Constitution? Idiot!

Not good enough. How about somebody who actually upholds the Constitution?

eyedoc on May 2, 2009 at 9:26 AM

The city ordinance I described applied to the entire city, not just a “Housing Associating”.

crr6 on May 2, 2009 at 1:19 AM

Are you referring to ordinances like bans on mobile homes and pre-structured homes or how many can live in a household or ordinances that ban you from parking work trucks in YOUR driveway or ordinances that require you to paint your home one of three colors. These ordinances are in place all over this country, in places like Simi Valley and Callabasas California, Eureka Springs Arkansas, University City Missouri, Athens Georgia, Springfield Illinois AND Mass., to name but a very few of the cities with such ordinances.
It IS a good thing that a federal law was enacted under the Bush administration that protects ANYONE who flies the U.S. Flag on the residential property they own or rent, too bad this law doesn’t include businesses.

nelsonknows on May 2, 2009 at 6:46 PM

Good news: Obama promises Souter’s replacement will be big on “empathy

My son was in Venezuela for a week or so back in January; he saw “judicial empathy” in action: If you own a small business, and one day you come along and find that a bunch of people have illegally tapped into your electricity, you will be jailed if you try to disconnect them.

The judicial logic used is that you, as a business person, have more wealth than the unfortunates that must be tapping into your electric, so you are prohibited from causing them any harm or discomfort. The notion of personal property rights is non-existent.

Such judicial rulings are very common in Venezuela and nearly always go against a business or property owner that is “more well off” than the person that is stealing or squatting on someone else’s property.

My son is convinced that this is exactly the direction the United States is headed for… the “have nots” that do nothing to earn it will be given freely from the “haves” via judicial fiat.

Why will anyone work hard anymore (personally, business) if they will be obligated to give more and more to the moochers and leeches? Game over, America – it was a nice 230+ years while it lasted.

electric-rascal on May 3, 2009 at 12:39 AM

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