Empathy Up and Down, but Not All Around
A week or so ago, I put forward as an example of “judicial empathy” the case of Paul Kelly, whose house has been inhabited by somebody else for almost two years with the permission of RI Superior Court Judge Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson, but not of the homeowner. Thomas Sowell provides another example related to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor:
Nothing demonstrates the fatal dangers from judicial “empathy” more than Judge Sotomayor’s decision in a 2008 case involving firemen who took an exam for promotion. After the racial mix of those who passed that test turned out to be predominantly white, with only a few blacks and Hispanics, the results were thrown out.
When this action by the local civil-service authorities was taken to court and eventually reached the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Sotomayor did not give the case even the courtesy of a spelling out of the issues. She backed those who threw out the test results. Apparently she didn’t have “empathy” with those predominantly white males who had been cheated out of promotions they had earned.
The mechanisms in play are significantly different between the two cases, but mechanisms can be mere means to a priori ends when the issue of identity groups and subjective definitions of “equality” are imposed as higher principles. As Sowell suggests, though the Left may scream extremism at those who worry about these trends, it would be foolish not to throw down markers along this dangerous path to totalitarianism.