Thursday, May 7, 2009

Empathy on the Supreme Court

Why not put Bill Clinton on the Supreme Court? Obama and Hillary need to keep him busy, and it's the only box big enough to hold him. Plus he's a notorious empathizer.

Speaking of that, I'm marveling at this week's conservative attack on President Obama, who made the outrageous assertion that he wanted to appoint someone to the Court who might have empathy for ordinary people. Horrors! This is more of the Keystone Kops routine we're seeing from a right wing that is now led by Rush Limbaugh. How great is it to have political opponents who are spending the week declaring themselves to be against empathy? Rhetorical geniuses they are not.

Meanwhile, I'd love to have an interview with Justice Clarence Thomas about all this. He wasn't quite four-square against empathy in his dissent to Virginia vs. Black in 2004, when the court upheld a right to cross-burning under the 1st Amendment. "Those who hate cannot terrorize or intimidate to make their point," he wrote, adding the interesting metaphysical observation that burning a cross was more like burning a house than it was like making a statement; one could, after all, burn down a house to make a point. So how about it, Justice Thomas? For empathy, or against it?

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