Senator Whitehouse’s Imaginative Qualifications for a US Supreme Court Justice

Outlined in this morning’s Ten News Conference with Jim Taricani and Bill Rappleye. (Thanks to commenter Joe Bernstein for the heads up.)

I think [President Obama]’s used an interesting word about this which is empathy and I think that’s a good word. I hope he leans towards someone who is not yet another white male. But I think that the most important thing is that the person has to be spectacularly intellectually qualified, have broad experience and have that quality of empathy that he’s looking for so we don’t get somebody up there who is a cipher (slave?) for corporate and political interest but remembers that every lawsuit has people at the heart of it.

1.) “… not yet another white male”.
Aren’t we supposed to refrain from pre-judging on the basis of race and gender? Or has there been a scientific study that determined that white males are intrinsically less qualified for this position?
2.) “… empathy …”
Empathy for one side of a case can mean the opposite for the other side. Who promulgates the guidelines for establishing which side receives empathy? Further, empathy can so warp judicial actions that it entirely take the place of law. This is what we are witnessing in the Cooley/Kelly case that Justin highlights.
What the Senator (and the President) have overlooked is the function of the US Supreme Court. It is to enforce the law; more specifically, determine the constitutional of a law. By definition, this does not leave a lot of room for empathy, which, if anything, is the purview of the legislative branch; i.e., those who make laws.

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John
John
12 years ago

Do you really think Shel gets that, or even cares about those differences in the roles of the branches of our government?
Please, he’s a true lightweight who can twist reality (at least in his own little mind) to conform to his weird belief system.
It is time to prepare ourselves to be controlled by those with empathy for anyone but us. I can’t wait to see what happens when the minority becomes the majority and they get to run things. How do you think they will treat the minority?

Patrick
Patrick
12 years ago

“Empathy for one side of a case can mean the opposite for the other side.”
Are you blurring empathy and sympathy? Otherwise, I don’t think what you’re saying is mutually exclusive. I would want a judge to be empathetic to both sides. I want a judge to try to understand what both sides are thinking and feeling. Isn’t that what made Solomon so wise?

Eric
Eric
12 years ago

How did racism against white males become an accepted and even valued ideal on the left. The disadvantaged can come from any group, but I wonder of some people realize this. It reminds me of an old Eddie Murphy SNL skit I saw recently. Eddie Murphy disguised himself as a white man and found that when no one was looking white people got everything from newspapers to money from the bank for free. The funny part is, I think some people on the left actually think that’s the way things actually are.

Patrick
Patrick
12 years ago

Sorry Eric, this is going to continue to happen until America finally progresses to the point where a non-white person can be finally elected President of the United States. Until that day, we need to continue to try to help…huh? We did elect a non-white person to the Presidency? Oh, never mind then.
How come when Clinton nominated a certain lawyer for US Attorney, Mr. Whitehouse didn’t say “oh no, Mr. President, you really should choose a non-white for that position. I respectfully decline.” Was it because Sheldon felt he was the best candidate for the position, regardless of skin color or gender? Yep, it’s always someone else who should sacrifice, not you, right?

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
12 years ago

Patrick-don’t you realize that Sheldon is from that “claws”of people who needn’t be bothered with details such as fairness?They are so exalted that we should grovel in appreciation that they even deign to serve us groundlings.
I don’t think Sheldon has much use for non-whites except as talking points-I know it’s a stretch,but he just reeks of empty born to the manor arrogance mixed with a total lack of common sense.
Nothing good can come from that combination.

paul kelly
paul kelly
12 years ago

When Whitehouse enlightened us with those words asking for “emphathy” in court decisions, he exposed himself for what he is—a person who lives in his own little world of what one thinks the right and wrong things are according to him,not what the law says.Tell you what, send him to the Middle east for a year and let him spread his emphathy in law there,we dont need his expertise.

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