Supreme court justice David Souter announced he will retire in June, but will not leave the bench until a successor is confirmed, according to US news media reports.
The president described what he would be looking for in Souter’s successor.
“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.”
There are reasons we have different branches of government and
…There is a reason why Lady Justice wears a blindfold: Impartiality
– : not partial or biased : treating or affecting all equally
This is done in order to indicate that justice is (or should be) meted out objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of the identity, power, or weakness: blind justice and blind impartiality.
Any empathy or identifying is foggy bunk and dangerous. That is not a judges’ duty. That is for congress. Congress makes the law. Judges apply the law.
The more dangerous aspect of what Obama said is the concept of special groups of people. You don’t judge one group differently than you do another. We are Americans and live under American Law.
When you hear Dems rant about bringing George Bush and his cronies to justice they will always proclaim “no-one is above or below the law, equal justice for all”. But, this is not at all what Obama is saying when he outlines what he looks for in a judge. If anything I would think what Obama outlined would disqualify a judge.
We’re talking Supreme Court Justices here folks, a lifetime tenure.
When judges are allowed to change the law or dispense it partially it circumvents the people.
We the people… create law through the legislative branch which we influence with our vote.
The branches of government where establist to ensure that no person or group would amass too much power, the founders established a government in which the powers to create, implement, and adjudicate laws were separated. Each branch of government is balanced by powers in the other two coequal branches: The President can veto the laws of the Congress; the Congress confirms or rejects the President’s appointments and can remove the President from office in exceptional circumstances; and the justices of the Supreme Court, who can overturn unconstitutional laws, are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
“A Constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute.” — Alexander Hamilton Federalist No. 78
What Obama is looking for is a judge that would practices some sort of judicial profiling. Will we be more fair with one group than another, and how do we identify that group. Are we more fair to the rich man if he had donated generously to the correct charities. Are we more fair to the…
What about a judge who successfully controlled an unlawful urge. He may feel a certain “empathy” for the man who had no control and commited the crime.
Or a judge who is a recovered alcoholic empathesizes with an alcoholic who lost control of his car resulting in the death of a mother’s son. Regardless of the empathy the judge may feel the boy is still dead.
Using Charles Krauthammer’s example, “A bank could not foreclose on a family because you would have more sympathy for the family losing their home rather than a bank.”
Yet this type of subjective reasoning can never be consistent. What if the judge’s father had been a banker whose bank had failed due to excessive loan defaults; he might not reach a reasonable judgement for a loan extension.
Our founders gave us the tools to cut through the fog. We must not forsake them.
…a nation of laws, not men. — John Adams