Monday, July 13, 2009

Comment on Senator Kohl's opening remarks

Mr Kohl's full remarks can be found here.

A Supreme Court Justice must be able to recognize that real people, with real problems are affected by the decisions rendered by the court. They must have a connection with and an understanding of the problems that people struggle with on a daily basis. Justice, after all, may be blind, but it should not be deaf.

I guess it depends on who is struggling. I am sure that in the case of the New Haven firefighters Mr. Kohl wasn't listening to those who were denied promotion. Unfortunately on both sides of the aisle the law is twisted to support prejudices. The liberals, however, are much more egregious in this manner than the conservatives. The conservatives at least claim to follow the plain meaning of the constitution because it is, in fact, the law. The liberals don't even care what the constitution says because it doesn't fit with their view of what the law ought to be.
As Justice Thomas told us at his confirmation hearing, it is important that a justice, “can walk in the shoes of the people who are affected by what the Court does.” I believe this comment embodies what President Obama intended when he said he wanted a nominee with “an understanding of how the world works and how ordinary people live.”
Justice Thomas' comment can be interpreted (a liberality on my part) as understanding the view from the multiple parties in the case. Note that Mr. Kohl, in paraphrasing President Obama, only talks about ordinary people. It's as if only specific parties in the case have rights that need to be defended. Every party in the case, even those that are generally disliked, have the same rights. I hope my reading between the lines is inaccurate but I fear it is not.


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