Monday, May 04, 2009

Obama's SCOTUS nominee

I have known this all along and at last the Left has admitted to it. They support judges who essentially legislate from the bench. President Obama said so much when the news of Souter’s pending retirement came down. When asked about his potential selection, Obama said he seeks a judge who will preside with “empathy”. He wants a nominee to understand that justice is "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."

Think about that statement for a moment. It may sound good on the surface, but is this what the judicial branch was meant to do? You see, I always adhere to the notion that justice in this country is blind. That laws are interpreted according to their legality, without considering how they affect the daily realities of people’s lives, without considering whether or not someone can make a living and care for their families or feel safe in their homes. Those are the things to consider when the law is actually created, NOT when it is being interpreted based on the Constitution.

When I heard Obama’s statement I was reminded of a time when I appeared in traffic court. I had gotten a speeding ticket and didn’t have my insurance papers, so I was there to present proof of insurance and have my fine reduced. The woman in front of me was protesting her ticket as well. She told the judge her story; that she was a single mom, working two jobs and could barely make ends meet. Basically, she couldn’t afford to pay her $200 speeding ticket. The judge ordered her to pay the fine. He ruled against me as well, because the law clearly states that all drivers must have proof of insurance in their cars at all times.

The point is that personal circumstances do not define the law for each individual. Her lack of funds does not grant her the privilege of breaking the law without penalty. And my absentmindedness does not allow me to drive without my insurance papers, even though I was fully insured. Had this judge met Obama’s criteria, he may have very well ruled in her favor, and mine.

Obama is wrong. Justice is not about how our laws affect people in their daily lives. Justice is about applying the law according to the Constitution, and applying it equally regardless of someone’s personal life. It is unjust for poor people to get away with speeding just because they are poor. And it is unjust to apply the law differently to different people based on how the law affects their daily lives. This is a radical view of the law and Obama – with his background in Constitutional law – should know that. His view is more than troubling. His view essentially allows judges to do more than just interpret the law based on the Constitution, but to interpret it based on a case-by-case basis, which is essentially creating new laws every time they hear a case. This transcends the power of the judicial branch according to how the Framers envisioned it. This gives judges much more power than they should have.

If a judge hears a case on abortion, and that judge is empowered with “empathy”, then his decision will be based on who he has empathy for. If he has empathy for the mother, then he will rule for abortion. If he has empathy for the fetus, then he will rule against abortion. This sets a very dangerous precedent, because the judge should always rule according to whether or not the law in question is legal, and whether or not the law was followed – NOT according to his own personal feelings about the law or his feelings toward the involved parties.

Justice should be blind. Justice must be blind. If not, then someone will be victimized at some point by prejudice, stereotype or some judge’s own political ideology. I couldn’t disagree more with Obama and his radical view of the judicial branch. But, at least, I was proven right in my opinion that the Left wants activists on the bench.



The following was submitted to snake hunters reb, on 5/4/09:

"When you stop to think of it, it's silly, naive and parochial to expect Rahm Emanuel to do anything except enthusiastically do the bidding of his boss. Why would he take the job otherwise? The crucial point is Obama's administration is putting the screws to Israel, as many of us predicted. Now it's up to Israel to decide who it fears most, Obama or Ahmadinejad."


If anyone missed the point, my question was, "Who does Obama favor, or to put the question another way, Who does Obama have "empathy for", Israel or Iran? reb

Auntyem said...


I think you were discussing the Supreme Court and its obligation to not legislate but to interpret the laws according to the Constitution?

You mentioned abortion: did Rowe vs Wade go according to the Constitution or empathy? I have empathy for the unborn, but that law was justified according to the Constitution?

How about Brown vs. Board of Education? That seemed empathetic to minorities.

I guess we can agree or disagree with the Supreme Court decisions, and even as the Justices on it can disagree amongst themselves, have their own ideologies, and make official statements on their own individual opinions, dissenting.

I thought the reason that Souter is leaving is that he feels the Supreme Court, as a body, is no longer his cup of tea; he dissents. Didn't Bush 41 appoint him because he thought Souter would be conservative? I've always heard that Presidents appoint judges who they think have idiologies that are similar to theirs. Why do Presidents get to choose them?

I like what Justice Ginsberg said about hoping the next appointee would be a woman, because in one case that involved a 13-year old girl who was strip-searched, the men on the Court ruled against her because "they have never been a 13 year old girl".

Port Orchard, WA

John Washburn said...

Em, the President appoints judges as part of the checks and balances of government. This gives the executive branch power over the judicial branch and allows the people to have a voice in the appointment of unelected judges. It's Congress' responsibility to approve an appointed judge if they feel he/she is QUALIFIED for the position regardless of the judge's own ideology.

Roe v. Wade was decided completely on empathy. There is no Constitutional basis for that decision even though the justices involved tried to say that the 9th Amendment indirectly included a right to privacy.

Brown v Board of Education was correctly decided because the Constitution guarantees equal rights. Perhaps there was some empathy involved, but they still made the right decision. However, if empathy was the ONLY requirement they could have easily ruled in favor of the white kids - being "empathetic" in their desire to be educated in a school without blacks.

See what I'm saying? It's dangerous to say that a judge must interpret the law according to how it affects individuals in their daily lives because that opens the door for judges to allow their own ideology to muddy the picture. That puts people's rights at risk.

Ginsburg is such a judge. If we follow her lead then we essentially say that a person must have a trial by a judge with a similar background. This opens the door for us to challenge ANY ruling if we feel the judge had no empathy toward us. That threatens our entire judicial system.

Simply put, you don't have to be a woman to know whether or not it is legal to strip-search a 13 year old girl in a particular situation.

John Washburn said...

Ginsburg was wrong. I realize that the strip search was humiliating for this girl but that has no bearing on the legality of it. Either the search was legal or it wasn't, the girl's feelings don't affect it. Are we prepared to say that it is only legal to strip-search someone if it doesn't result in humiliation for the person being searched?