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Sowell on Sotamayor

Thomas Sowell has been writing about the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. He has an incisive way of cutting through the clutter and media spin and making you think about the heart of the issues. A couple of quotes:

It is one of the signs of our times that so many in the media are focusing on the life story of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States.

You might think that this was some kind of popularity contest, instead of a weighty decision about someone whose impact on the fundamental law of the nation will extend for decades after Barack Obama has come and gone.

Much is being made of the fact that Sonia Sotomayor had to struggle to rise in the world. But stop and think.

If you were going to have open heart surgery, would you want to be operated on by a surgeon who was chosen because he had to struggle to get where he is or by the best surgeon you could find– even if he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and had every advantage that money and social position could offer?

And this:

The clever people in the media and elsewhere are saying that “inevitably” one’s background influences how one feels about issues. Even if that were true, judges are not supposed to decide cases based on their personal feelings.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that he “loathed” many of the people in whose favor he voted on the Supreme Court. Obviously, he had feelings. But he also had the good sense and integrity to rule on the basis of the law, not his feelings.

Laws are made for the benefit of the citizens, not for the self-indulgences of judges. Making excuses for such self-indulgences and calling them “inevitable” is part of the cleverness that has eroded the rule of law and undermined respect for the law …

It would be considered a disgrace if an umpire in a baseball game let his “empathy” determine whether a pitch was called a ball or strike. Surely we should accept nothing less from a judge.

You can read all of his columns here. Highly recommended.

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