Obama wants to replace rule of law with empathy

Thomas Sowell:

One of the biggest and most long-lasting “change” to expect if Barack Obama becomes president of the United States is in the kinds of federal judges he appoints. These include Supreme Court justices, as well as other federal justices all across the country, all of whom will have lifetime tenure.

Sen. Obama has stated very clearly what kinds of Supreme Court justices he wants — those with “the empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old.”

Like so many things that Obama says, it may sound nice if you don’t stop and think — and chilling if you do stop and think. Do we really want judges who decide cases based on who you are, rather than on the facts and the law?

If the case involves a white man versus a black woman, should the judge decide that case differently than if both litigants are of the same race or sex?

The kind of criteria that Barack Obama promotes could have gotten three young men at Duke University sent to prison for a crime that neither they nor anybody else committed.

Didn’t we spend decades in America, and centuries in Western civilization, trying to get away from the idea that who you are determines what your legal rights are?

What kind of judges are we talking about?

A classic example is federal Judge H. Lee Sarokin, who could have bankrupted a small New Jersey town because they decided to stop putting up with belligerent homeless men who kept disrupting their local public library. Judge Sarokin’s rulings threatened the town with heavy damage awards, and the town settled the case by paying $150,000 to the leading disrupter of its public library.

After Bill Clinton became president, he elevated Judge Sarokin from the district court to the Circuit Court of Appeals. Would President Barack Obama elevate him — or others like him — to the Supreme Court? Judge Sarokin certainly fits Obama’s job description for a Supreme Court justice.

A court case should not depend on who you are and who the judge is. We are supposed to be a country with “the rule of law and not of men.” Like all human beings, Americans haven’t always lived up to our ideals. But Obama is proposing the explicit repudiation of that ideal itself.

...
Obama is a proponent of "penumbra law" which allows the courts to make it up to fit the results they want. That is a way to judicial tyranny. It is the way of the despots. Even those whom Obama is seeking empathy for will be ill served in the long run with this kind of "justice."

On the legislative side, the Great Society was loaded with empathy, but its practical results were a disaster for the black family in America. It has also led to a situation where young black men are killing each other at a rate higher than our current combat deaths in two wars.

Another sad by product of that era is too many blacks blame their failures on their skin color rather than the content of their efforts. Life puts obstacles in front of all of us and we should never accept that our circumstances are determined by our skin color or heritage. Thomas Sowell is a great example of what can be accomplished by those with a determination to succeed.

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