Can't Have It Both Ways On "Empathy" Justices

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: May 07, 2009 12:30 PM
The Huffington Post and Media Matters are hollering about conservative news outlets ignoring the rest of Obama's statement with regards to "empathetic" Supreme Court justices. Here's the Obama quote that was commonly reported:
I view that quality of empathy, and understanding, and identifying with people's hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.
It was followed up by this:
I will seek someone who is dedicated to the rule of law, who honors our Constitutional traditions, who respects the integrity of the judicial process, and the appropriate limits of the judicial role.
Sorry, but you can't have it both ways. "Identifying with people's hopes and struggles" is entirely separate from maintaining constitutional integrity on judicial issues. Inserting "empathy" into a legal ruling explicitly means you disregard meaningful judicial review, giving favor to groups you have more personal sympathy for instead of those who should be viewed favorably based on the letter of the law.