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Opening Arguments


Looks like Sonia Sotomayor is getting the nod for the Supreme Court. In the coming days, I'm sure, we'll all be writing about how what a brilliant/clueless jurist she is and how blessed/screwed the country will be with her on the court. Let's just start by noting once again the much-noted observation that:

Obama had said publicly he wanted a justice who combined intellect and empathy - the ability to understand the troubles of everyday Americans.

Let's pay close attention to how this intellect vs. empathy stuff plays out (not to be confused with Intellect v. Empathy, the controversial case in which a deeply divided court ruled that feeling bad about stealing someone's patented invention was not an adequate defense unless he felt really, really, really bad). Would understanding the "troubles of everyday Americans" cause her to rule incorrectly despite her intellectual understanding of the Constitution? Or would her empathy only lead her to understand the pain of the people she's ruling against when she correctly interprets the Constitution? Exactly  how in the hell do you balance empathy and intellect when interpreting the Constitution?

And please join me in wishing a long and healthy life and continued service on the court to Anthony Kennedy. As scattered as his opinions and reasoning have been, he's the only person standing between us and clueless and screwed.