I'm not that upset about Justice Souter retiring - it doesn't change the Supreme Court, just replacing one liberal for another. But I do want to talk about the ridiculousness of what Obama says he is looking for in a justice.
During the campaign, he said:
"We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old—and that's the criterion by which I'll be selecting my judges."
Well, first of all, all the justices are old, so they can all understand that. Justice Clarence Thomas KNOWS what it's like to be poor and African-American - but that doesn't count to Obama, it has to be a liberal without first hand experience who feels enough guilt to empathize with the perceived weaker side and rule in their favor no matter the circumstances. To him, empathy is more important than truth, heart over head.
Speaking of Justice Thomas, Obama has pretty much called him stupid:
"I don't think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation. Setting aside the fact that I profoundly disagree with his interpretations of a lot of the constitution. I would not have nominated Justice Scalia though I don't think there is any doubt about his intellectual brilliance. Because he and I just disagree."
(Of course it's only racist to question the intellect and qualifications of a black person if they're liberal, black conservatives are fair game for the worst racial taunts imaginable.)
When officially announcing the retirement of Souter, Obama again spoke of empathy:
I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles, as an essential ingredient for arriving as just decisions and outcomes. I will seek somebody 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. I will seek somebody who shares my respect for constitutional values on which this nation was founded and who brings a thoughtful understanding of how to apply them in our time.
Empathy has nothing to do with justice. You can empathize with someone all day long but they could still be wrong. Judges are supposed to be dispassionate and objective; empathy is all about emotions and subjectivity. I don't believe Obama in his second sentence where he pays lip service to the rule of law and constitutional traditions - his view of those are far different from the rest of the country.
I think the last sentence is telling; he seems to be saying, "I respect the constitutional values this country was founded on, but they need to be updated and I need someone to think of creative ways to do this." One example of a potential Obama update on our constitutional values would be to say, "the 2nd Amendment was great in the 17th century when people hunted for food or needed protection on the frontier, but today guns kill too many people and we need to control them."
Another Obama criteria is that the justice has to be as militantly pro-abortion as he is. I don't need to get into this except to say, maybe more empathy wouldn't be so bad: