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An answer to my question

July 14, 2009

I was able to ask a question of the senators on the Judiciary Committee today via Twitter.  My twitter name is wordsnourishme.  Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) answered:

Earlier today, we offered to ask senators your questions. Here’s what @wordsnourishme was curious about: “What does empathy mean to you and why would it not apply to a justice?  Are they machines?”

We sent Jesse J. Holland, our reporter in the hearing room, to find a senator. He interviewed Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

Coburn’s reponse: “Their feelings come in but they should not have any application as when they make a decision based on the facts of the case and on the statutes they’re considering and precedent.”

Human beings without empathy aren’t much but what we ask a judge to do is to separate that empathy from their decision-making process because they are strictly told by the Constitution what factors they are to consider, and there’s three: the Constitution and the statutes, treaties and precedent. That’s it.”

“We want judges to have empathy, but we don’t want empathy to interfere with the rule of law. Once you move to that direction — once when empathy reigns — the rule of law has no power. We lose the rule of law.”

Thanks to  Liz Sidoti, Jesse Holland and AP Courtside.

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