Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Empathy, Ethnicity and the Courts

How can someone who said the following be allowed on the Supreme Court?

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.


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 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.

Who said this?    Answer: Sam Alito at his confirmation hearing.

(h/t Glenn Greenwald)

"Racialism" and life experience affect our judgements whether we want to believe it or not.  The Court has 7 white males, one black male, one white woman... none of whom had as much judicial experience at Judge Sotomayor before attaining the Supreme Court.

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