April 26, 2010

IF ONLY HE WERE SERIOUS...:

In Court Nominees, Is Obama Looking for Empathy by Another Name? (PETER BAKER, 4/26/10, NY Times)

Empathy is out. Understanding ordinary lives is in. Is there a difference? President Obama is about to find out.

A year after Mr. Obama made “empathy” one of his main criteria in picking his first Supreme Court justice, he is avoiding the word, which became radioactive, as he picks his second nominee. Instead, he says he wants someone with “a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people.” [...]

Ed Gillespie, a former adviser to President George W. Bush who shepherded Mr. Roberts’s nomination through the Senate, said: “It’s not surprising Obama’s backed away from citing empathy as a quality as a justice. Empathy’s a great trait in a drinking buddy, but not so much a Supreme Court justice.”

“The most empathetic party in a case,” Mr. Gillespie added, “may not be the one with the law on its side, in which case a justice should actually set aside his or her empathy. Unfortunately, it’s doubtful President Obama’s backed away from empathy as a qualification as much as he’s backed away from using the word itself.”


...he'd make a choice from outside the legal profession generally and legal academia in particular. The Court would indeed benefit greatly from having fewer Ivy lawyers.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 26, 2010 5:58 AM
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