Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Oath Breaker

An excellent argument against the proposal by Barack Obama to select appointees to the Supreme Court based not on their understanding of the law but of their sense of "empathy".

A few excerpts. First of all on the qualities Obama is specifically seeking-

Time and again, Obama has called for judges who do not put their private political views aside when deciding cases. In choosing a replacement for Justice David Souter, the president says, he will seek not just "excellence and integrity," but a justice whose "quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles," would be "an essential ingredient" in his jurisprudence. In an interview last year, he said he would look for judges "sympathetic" to those "on the outside, those who are vulnerable, those who are powerless."

And just one of the arguments for why this is such a terrible and dangerous idea and precedent-

JUDICIAL dispassion - the ability to decide cases without being influenced by personal feelings or political preferences - is indispensable to the rule of law. So indispensable, in fact, that the one-sentence judicial oath required of every federal judge and justice contains no fewer than three expressions of it: "I . . . do solemnly swear 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 . . . under the Constitution and laws of the United States, so help me God."

Jacoby discusses this further- such a notion also contravenes the Constitution, for example- and I strongly suggest you not only read it but pass it along.

One can only imagine the howling outrage on the Left if President Bush has suggested selecting judges who would prefer one segment of society over another.

I can only hope that Republicans not only block any such appointees- that is, those who believe that they should violate their oath of office- but make the reasons very clear to the public at large.

Justice must be blind to the preferences of one segment of society- otherwise the very word has no meaning. Obama, as a former law professor, should know better.

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