EmPathetic Judges-updated

In light of the victory that barely squeaked through the Supreme Court yesterday, I believe it would be beneficial to revisit how our candidates plan to select Supreme Court Justices. Remember that is a power of the president’s office.

First we have Obama:

“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 criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges.”

Really?  Well that is downright scary.  It is not a judges job to understand these things.  A judges job is to interpret and apply the law in a given scenario.  Being fair and just does not and should not require empathy.  If being poor, African-American, gay, disabled, or old changes the way a law applies, then the law needs to be written that way.  That’s the job of a legislator, not a judge.

Stealing is a crime.  It is just as much of a crime if a single mom steals food to feed her family.  Of course we feel sorry for her situation, but that does not change the fact that a crime is committed.  Saying otherwise is legislating from the bench.  Judges do have the opportunity to show her mercy, but they should not be changing policy.

[added] And there is this from his DailyKos diary:

There is one way, over the long haul, to guarantee the appointment of judges that are sensitive to issues of social justice, and that is to win the right to appoint them by recapturing the presidency and the Senate.

Social justice?  Um no.  But this does confirm that it’s all part of his great plan of hopechanginess.[end of edit]

Contrast McCain’s position:

“My nominees will understand that there are clear limits to the scope of judicial power, and clear limits to the scope of federal power,” McCain said Tuesday in a speech at Wake Forest University.

He also promises to nominate justices in the mold of Roberts and Alito.

We don’t need activist judges that believe in a living Constitution.  The founding fathers meant it just like they wrote it.  There is a very democratic process by which it can be amended.  Allowing unelected judges dictate public policy is a short path to fascism.  The system of checks and balances hinges on the separation of powers.

The issue of justices alone should make one tremble.  Don’t forget that there are enough liberal votes in the Senate to confirm any justice Obama nominates.  The existing justices are not getting any younger.

I certainly still have my issues with McCain, but I agree with him more that I disagree.  The only benefit I can see from an Obama presidency is that it would be so exceedingly bad that the people would wake up and take action.  Unfortunately, Americans have gotten too fat, lazy, and complacent.

6 thoughts on “EmPathetic Judges-updated”

  1. But Jennifer, that is how liberals have been managing to push their agendas along, by having legislation done from the bench.

    I am not against homosexuals being married (topic for another time) but I am against the fact that a legally voted on law was struck down by the California Supreme Court not because they found it to be unconstitutional, but because the found “new rights” in the California constitution and used that to say that gay marriage is legal according to California law.

    A clear case of legislation from the bench but there is also case law, which amounts up to “Well, this judge over here looked at it this way so you should too.”

    Just because one judge interpreted something one way, how does that suddenly make it law? I would think that it should only work in THAT CASE, not every case that comes after it.

    If anything, Congress needs to pass a law limiting the power of judges, the one area the Constitution ignored.

  2. Instinct,

    “Living Constitution” is just a way for people to say that the rules only apply when it’s convenient for them. Much like playing a board game with little children, they like to change the rules in mid-play, that’s all. Am I saying that the leadership in CA is like a bunch of children? Yes, I am.

  3. Wait just a minute…how dare you whip out all that antiquated and archaic ‘Rule of Law’ mumbo jumbo.

    Are you actually trying to say that laws are actually laws and should be applied to…uh…people?

    How harsh and uncaring…


    Seriously though…great post on this topic. This is the crux of the issue, “It is just as much of a crime if a single mom steals food to feed her family.” – exactly.

    It is the job of the judge to uphold the law – but determine a fitting punishment based on the situation. What are the point of laws if someone’s feelings about a situation can overrule them?

    In a civil society, crimes must be prosecuted based on the action taken by the criminal – the punishment should be decided by the legislature. If the legislature leaves a little room for the judge to set punishment based on motives, that’s acceptable. But situations and motives cannot somehow change the application of laws.

    Consequently, this is my problem with ‘hate crime’ legislation. Even though racially motivated crimes seem more heinous – a murder is still a murder – regardless of motivation. How can we set up different laws for someone who kills because he hates another person, and someone who kills because he hates another person because of their race?

    Perhaps punishment could differ – but laws shouldn’t.

    Anyway, just some thoughts…

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