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.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
13 years ago

As was the original decision to throw out the test results, this ruling by Judge Sotomayor and the other judge was troubling. In fact, the city had gone to considerable lengths to make the test “color blind”, including the hiring of an outside firm.
In doing so, didn’t the two judges put race above qualification?

13 years ago

Gee, I wonder what Michael from Rescue 1 thinks about this. Or Frank Montanaro, AFL-CIO, and CFD, Retired. Or is this another case of the dog that isn’t barking (and rather loudly at that)?

13 years ago

Considering that firefighter safety is inextricably linked with who leads them into burning buildings, I’d say that firefighters would want only those qualified (say, the ones who actually passed the test) to be chosen for officer’s positions.
I don’t see how it’s a political party issue.

Paul Kelly
Paul Kelly
13 years ago

I sat here pondering the phrase “judicial emphathy”,for a few minutes.Who gets the emphathy in a decision?And why should they get it?To right the wrongs of the past?With this mindset in court desisions there is no fairness and equality.It doesnt even take the facts of a case into condideration.

Show your support for Anchor Rising with a 25-cent-per-day subscription.