Several examples of a judge talking about empathy when ruling on certain cases:
"And that's why I went into that in my opening statement. Because when a case comes before me involving, let's say, someone who is an immigrant -- and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases -- I can't help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn't that long ago when they were in that position.
And so it's my job to apply the law. It's not my job to change the law or to bend the law to achieve any result.
But when I look at those cases, I have to say to myself, and I do say to myself, "You know, this could be your grandfather, this could be your grandmother. They were not citizens at one time, and they were people who came to this country.
When I have cases involving children, I can't help but think of my own children and think about my children being treated in the way that children may be treated in the case that's before me.
And that goes down the line. When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender.
And I do take that into account.
When I have a case involving someone who's been subjected to discrimination because of disability, I have to think of people who I've known and admire very greatly who've had disabilities, and I've watched them struggle to overcome the barriers that society puts up often just because it doesn't think of what it's doing -- the barriers that it puts up to them.
So those are some of the experiences that have shaped me as a person." --Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
President Obama was criticized by conservatives for saying he would like to see a judge who would be empathetic on the Supreme Court. The Right was quick to say that empathy has no place in judicial decision-making; but as usual, the Right completely ignores the empathy-soaked testimony of Judge Samuel Alito when he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and happily testified to his EMPATHY for certain ethnic and social groups in his judgments.
The Right is hypocritical, as usual, and its complaints against the "empathy" factor regarding Judge Sotomayor should be dismissed as such.
And this thoughtful and informed answer to those who criticized Judge Sotomayor's statement “...court of appeals is where policy is made...”
Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich have called for Judge Sotomayor to withdraw her nomination because they believe she's a racist and a bigot.
As Media Matters for America has documented, media figures have misrepresented Sotomayor's Berkeley remarks. For example, Fox News host Megyn Kelly said that Sotomayor was claiming "that Latina judges are obviously better than white male judges." In fact, Sotomayor was specifically discussing the importance of diversity in adjudicating race and sex discrimination cases.
Indeed, former Bush Justice Department lawyer John Yoo has similarly stressed that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas "is a black man with a much greater range of personal experience than most of the upper-class liberals who take potshots at him" and argued that Thomas' work on the court has been influenced by his understanding of the less fortunate acquired through personal experience. Thomas himself, in responding to the question during his confirmation hearing of why he "want[ed] this job," said in part: "I believe ... that I can make a contribution, that I can bring something different to the Court, that I can walk in the shoes of the people who are affected by what the Court does."