One thing can be said for President Obama is that he doesnt sneak up on his targets. And another thing that can be said for this liberal administration is that it is not in the least embarrassed about its inclinations. To buy into this left-of-center government is to have gotten what one bargained for. Yesterday Obama made it clear that he wants to see retiring Justice David Souter (he who ignored the erstwhile tradition of justices allowing a president of the party that appointed him to nominate his successor) replaced by October and by an individual who has empathy and is about how our laws affect the daily realities of peoples lives. These are indeed fine characteristics, but they are finest in legislators and not in judges, and in judges they are finer in trial judges than in appellate and Supreme Court judges whose empathy may or may not be a reliable yardstick of, well quaint concept justice or due process.

President Obama also suggested that some (unspecified) Americans need Supreme Court judges who will use their empathy to assure that they feel welcome in their own nation. Is Obama referring to judges who will enforce duly enacted civil rights laws? To homosexual couples desiring to marry and have the U.S. Constitution traduced to their cause? To Mormons and Christians who are being assaulted in their churches or on the street for their participation in our democracy? To legal immigrants? Illegal immigrants?

In the realm of feeling, any answer is possible. But in the realm of leftwing jurisprudence, only one answer to each of these questions is likely. The empathy that matters is in the eye of the office-holder.