President Obama has made his pick for the Supreme Court – Sonia Sotomayor.
He has stated he would choose someone with empathy.
“I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook; it is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives, whether they can make a living and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation,” Mr. Obama said.
During his campaign, he even went so far as to say:
“We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old — and that’s the criterion by which I’ll be selecting my judges.”
According to Title 28, Chapter I, Part 453 of the United States Code, each Supreme Court Justice takes the following oath:
“I, [NAME], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as [TITLE] under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.”
I don’t see anything about empathy in there. And what about that blindfolded lady? I always thought it was empathy/sympathy that a judge was supposed to set aside and make their judgments based on the law. If judgments were made out of feelings and emotion there would never be a foreclosure, never a collection of a debt, never even a divorce, and never a person jailed or imprisoned. There are always consequences to lawful judgments and all impact lives in the end. Empathy is for a counseling session not a court of law.
“Empathy and sympathy are very close and are sometimes used as synonyms. The easiest way to separate them is to remember that empathy is about feelings whilst sympathy is about actions. Thus you may empathize with another person and then act on this by telling them how sorry or happy you feel for them.”
“Empathetic people are often very sympathetic – they can hardly stop themselves as they really do feel for the other person.”