Friday, May 29, 2009

GOP Wants to do away with Empathy?

On the issue of the nominee for the Supreme Court, Obama has spoken of the quality of empathy.
"I will seek someone who understands that justice isn't about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook; 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," Obama said. "I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles, as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes."
According to Major Garrett at Fox News, conservatives "are likely to line up against any "empathetic" Obama nominee for the Souter seat."

"President Obama has referred to this nice word empathy," says Wendy Long, legal counsel to the Judicial Confirmation Network. Long clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas, whom Obama has described as one of the kinds of judges he opposes because of their lack of judicial training and lack of empathy.

"(Obama) thinks judges should have empathy for certain litigants who come before them. Of course if you have empathy for everybody who comes before you, there are two sides to every case. If you have empathy for both sides then that's the same as having no empathy at all. So what he means is he wants empathy for one side and what's wrong with that is it is being partial instead of being impartial. A judge is supposed to have empathy for no one but simply to follow the law."

However, just three and a half years ago, Republicans thought empathy was a pretty righteous quality in a Supreme Court nominee.

TPM unearths a must-watch video in which Samuel Alito says that in his rulings not only does he apply the rule of law but he explains how empathy and his own heritage play a role in his decisions.

Alito: Have to Consider Life Experiences when Ruling Cases

h/t: The Plum Line

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