Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Obamapocrisy? Say It Isn't So!

Here's Barack Obama speaking about the nomination of Judge Janice Rogers Brown to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in June of 2005.

The test of a qualified judicial nominee is also not whether that person has their own political views. Every jurist surely does. The test is whether he or she can effectively subordinate their views in order to decide each case on the facts and the merits alone. That is what keeps our judiciary independent in America. That is what our Founders intended.

Here's Barack Obama announcing his nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court in May of 2009.

And while there are many qualities that I admire in judges across the spectrum of judicial philosophy, and that I seek in my own nominee, there are a few that stand out that I just want to mention.

First and foremost is a rigorous intellect, a mastery of the law, an ability to hone in on the key issues and provide clear answers to complex legal questions.

Second is a recognition of the limits of the judicial role, an understanding that a judge's job is to interpret, not make law, to approach decisions without any particular ideology or agenda, but rather a commitment to impartial justice, a respect for precedent, and a determination to faithfully apply the law to the facts at hand.

These two qualities are essential, I believe, for anyone who would sit on our nation's highest court. And yet these qualities alone are insufficient. We need something more.

For as Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, the life of the law has not been logic, it has been experience; experience being tested by obstacles and barriers, by hardship and misfortune; experience insisting, persisting, and ultimately overcoming those barriers. It is experience that can give a person a common touch and a sense of compassion, an understanding of how the world works and how ordinary people live.

And that is why it is a necessary ingredient in the kind of justice we need on the Supreme Court.

I know.

I'm shocked too.