Quote of the day

Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele explains his judicial philosophy.

By Alex Koppelman
Published May 8, 2009 7:50PM (EDT)

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele filled in as host on Bill Bennett's radio show Friday morning. That gave him an opportunity to explain his feelings regarding what President Obama said last week about his criteria for picking the next Supreme Court justice, "I will seek someone who understands that justice isn't about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook; it is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people's lives."

Via Political Wire, Steele's comments:

Good morning y'all, we're back in the house. We're talking a little bit of Constitution and a little bit Supreme Court. And a whole lot of saving America's judicial system and saving our rights as citizens and not having empathetic judges decide cases, but rather judges who are actually understanding the rule of law and what the Constitution and those laws are all about. And how to apply the facts to the law and the law to the facts. And adjudicate my case. I don't need some judge sitting up there feeling bad for my opponent because of their life circumstances or their condition. And short changing me and my opportunity to get fair treatment under the law. Crazy nonsense empathetic. I'll give you empathy. Empathize right on your behind. Craziness.

Ben Smith observes, "I'm not sure the politics of directly opposing empathy are really going to work outside [legal blog] Volokh Conspiracy circles."

True enough, but I think the more important thing to note here is this: Steele has a law degree from Georgetown.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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