After Justice David Souter retired from the Supreme Court in the spring of 2009, President Obama launched a brief national media freak-out by putting “empathy” at the top of his wish list for his first Supreme Court nominee. Empathy, Obama said, was an “essential ingredient” for arriving at “just decisions and outcomes.”
When he named federal appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to fill Souter’s seat, his “empathy standard” was widely debated and derided by those who saw it as code for every imaginable judicial evil, including bias, sentimentality and, quite possibly, generalized female-ness.
Reviewed Dahlia Lithwick
Via Edwin Rutsch