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  1. #1
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Default Souter retirement

    David Souter: Supreme Court Justice David Souter to retire, source says -- baltimoresun.com

    I have a problem with a statement made by Obama's administration:

    Asked how important "diversity'' will be in the selection of a nominee, Gibbs said of the president's considerations: "I think the most important thing, to him, is diversity of experience -- somebody who has not just thought about the law, but somebody who has the type of experience to understand how the decisions that he or she might make ...might affect every day, average Americans.''

    For instance, on a question of pay disparities for women, he said, that would call for "a person who could understand, through empathy, the situation that she was dealing with.''
    The way I read this is, he wants a judge who cares more about peoples' feelings than the law.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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    Member Marc790's Avatar
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    Well, I read it to mean someone who isn't just "by the book" when it comes to making the law, but also has a sense of empathy in understanding the bigger impacts of the law that might affect average American.

    Our experiences matter when it comes to interpreting the law. At the same time, what also matters is our sense of empathy, whether or not we have an understanding of the overall impacts of the law. In the end, it's not just about our personal beliefs and the interpretation of the Constitution.

    Take the VP, as an example, on the issue of choice, he is Catholic and believes life begins at conception, yet he also has a sense of empathy in understanding that his views of the world, because of his privilege, aren't representative of all people, as he'll never have to face poverty, the chances of child-birth or unwanted pregnancies.

    Absolutely, I want a Justice who'll be able to put himself/herself in the shoes of the people for whom the law is made.

    Marc

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    David Souter: Supreme Court Justice David Souter to retire, source says -- baltimoresun.com

    I have a problem with a statement made by Obama's administration:



    The way I read this is, he wants a judge who cares more about peoples' feelings than the law.
    "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what's right with America." ~~ Bill Clinton.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc790 View Post
    Well, I read it to mean someone who isn't just "by the book" when it comes to making the law
    We're talking about a Supreme Court justice, not a legislator.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  4. #4
    Reigning Bologna Princess Rajah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    The way I read this is, he wants a judge who cares more about peoples' feelings than the law.
    You've just highlighted a basic division in how people interpret judicial decisionmaking - should the courts be bound to adhere to precedent, or should judges be allowed to introduce an element of discretion into the process? Gut instinct says the former, but reviewing major civil rights developments supports the latter. The courts are responsible for many groundbreaking decisions - from actually creating judicial review way back in Marbury v. Madison (a brilliant opinion) to desegregation.

    It's a practical thing. Times change. Circumstances change. And the laws need to reflect that change. Laws are fun to analyze intellectually, but at the end of the day, they very much affect people's daily lives. So, yeah, it is important for a judge to understand how his/her decisionmaking affects people. They need to understand the impact their decisions will have. Why wouldn't they?


    I... suppose. Yeah!

  5. #5
    Reigning Bologna Princess Rajah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    We're talking about a Supreme Court justice, not a legislator.
    But the Courts are given the responsibility of interpreting the laws and ensuring they're Constitutional. The Courts are a check on legislative power.


    I... suppose. Yeah!

  6. #6
    Member Marc790's Avatar
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    Remember Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    We're talking about a Supreme Court justice, not a legislator.
    "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what's right with America." ~~ Bill Clinton.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    If the court is allowed to make law, then the justices should be elected, not appointed for life.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  8. #8
    Member Marc790's Avatar
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    Take that up with the Founding Fathers and the originators of the Constitution. What do you actually propose? How should Supreme Court Justices be ruling? What is the role of the Constitution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    If the court is allowed to make law, then the justices should be elected, not appointed for life.
    "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what's right with America." ~~ Bill Clinton.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc790 View Post
    Take that up with the Founding Fathers and the originators of the Constitution. What do you actually propose? How should Supreme Court Justices be ruling? What is the role of the Constitution?
    The original intent wasn't for the Supreme Court to make law, that's a more recent development. So your statement is based on a false premise.

    Since we changed the duties, we should also change the terms.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  10. #10
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    David Souter: Supreme Court Justice David Souter to retire, source says -- baltimoresun.com

    I have a problem with a statement made by Obama's administration:



    The way I read this is, he wants a judge who cares more about peoples' feelings than the law.
    Yes, he does, and he's been very explicit about that-its the most important reason I oppose him so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc790 View Post
    Absolutely, I want a Justice who'll be able to put himself/herself in the shoes of the people for whom the law is made.

    Marc
    Originalists, being human, already have the capacity to do that-they just have principles, combined with the wisdom to know that arbitrary and sophistic dictates from an effectively unnacountable elite are extremely detrimental toward the rule of law, both in subtance and in terms of popular perception.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rajah View Post
    You've just highlighted a basic division in how people interpret judicial decisionmaking - should the courts be bound to adhere to precedent, or should judges be allowed to introduce an element of discretion into the process? Gut instinct says the former, but reviewing major civil rights developments supports the latter. The courts are responsible for many groundbreaking decisions - from actually creating judicial review way back in Marbury v. Madison (a brilliant opinion) to desegregation.

    It's a practical thing. Times change. Circumstances change. And the laws need to reflect that change. Laws are fun to analyze intellectually, but at the end of the day, they very much affect people's daily lives. So, yeah, it is important for a judge to understand how his/her decisionmaking affects people. They need to understand the impact their decisions will have. Why wouldn't they?
    What is the point of the Constitution if it is a "living document"!? That odious doctrine has made what was the most important and beautiful accomplishment in American history worse than worthless-it has made it a detriment to the rule of law itself (and all long-term liberties as a consequence). Countries without a Constitution, at least, depend on the arbitray judgement of elected (and accountable) representatives rather than the arbitrary judgements of a supposedly enlightentened elite-the former is better in the long-term for the same reasons that a procedural democracy is better than a liberal dictatorship in the long-term.

    Look, despite the impressions my passion for this subject may have left you with, I'm not actually an unbending fundamentalist on the matter-I just think that Supreme Court decisions based on anything other than the law itself should be extrordinarily rare (rather than a matter-of-course) and that the Judges making such decisions should utterly loath the situational neccessity of underming the rule of law through their actions, rather than actually celebrating and promoting what they are doing as the optimal judicial standard.

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