Posts Tagged ‘empathy’

One of the Most Interesting Article on Justice Stevens and Selecting a Nominee

April 10, 2010

I wanted to highlight one of the most interesting articles written about Justice Stevens and how important is it that the nominee meet some diversity requirement.  With any nomination opportunity as of late, especially for a Democratic President, there is always clamoring to pick this person, in part, because they are a woman, or that person, in part, because they are African American or that person because they are Jewish.  But Justice Stevens defied everyone when he became the leading liberal on the court.  Writing today on Slate.com,  Dahlia Lithwick and Sonja West wrote:

But if the retirement of Justice Stevens highlights a single value we should demand in a justice, it’s got nothing to do with race or gender or even professional background and everything to do with empathy for others.

Yes. That’s right. We just said the e-word. . . .

There may be no sitting justice who better exemplified the difference between diversity and empathy than Justice Stevens. He grew up white, male, heterosexual, Protestant, and wealthy. At no point in time was he a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay or a frightened teenage girl. And yet, over the decades, his rulings and written opinions repeatedly showed us that he could see the world through the eyes of those with very different life experiences from his own. In other words, he tapped his inner “wise Latina woman” when the case called for it, and we are all better for it. Stevens used empathy not to skew or manipulate his jurisprudence, but to consider the effects of his decisions on real people and to accept that the law can look quite different depending on where you’re standing. That’s part of what made him such a great justice, and it’s a quality the president should bear in mind in selecting his replacement.

So before you think President Obama needs to nominate a half-asian, half black, disabled, gay, Protestant, just think of Justice Stevens and his background.

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