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.