It’s a simple, important concept that has fallen too often by the wayside in recent years: A judge’s economic background, their sex, and their skin color shouldn’t play a part in seeking justice.
In his opening remarks before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., discussed the importance of such an impartial justice system — one that is completely blind to issues of identity and, rather, beholden to the letter and meaning of the law.
“Empathy,” he put it very simply, “is not the role of a Supreme Court justice.”
Against a backdrop of Democrat senators expressing statements teeming with concern and prepared outrage regarding Neil Gorsuch and issues involving [insert special “class” of people here], Sen. Sasse reminded those present that the law needs facts, which – as Ben Shapiro would put it – don’t care about anyone’s feelings.
“Someone once said that ‘empathy’ is an essential ingredient in arriving at a justice decision,” said Sasse, in reference to a key word of Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination. “This belief is well meant but very foolish.”
“For standing before court your gender, your skin, your bank account, cannot decide your fate. In the same way a judge's race, class, and gender should not decide your fate,” he continued. “Nor should your judges’ race, class, or gender decide your fate.”
“It is our job as legislators – men and women who are hired and fired by the American people – to empathize, to identify with people's hopes and struggles,” Sasse said. “The judge must instead faithfully and dispassionately apply the law to the facts of the case.”
Sen. Sasse spoke about the symbolism of the traditional garments that judges wear, saying that the simple black reminds both the jurist and the layman alike that the job of the judge is to interpret the law, not impose their whims, worldview, or their empathy into it.
“The judge’s robe is there to remind both the judges and us of that – that if the facts are on our side, it shouldn’t matter what judge we sit in front of,” Sen. Ben Sasse concluded.
“This is at the heart of what we mean when we say we want the ‘rule of law,’ not the rule of men – or women, or black or white, or rich or poor. We want the rule of law – not of judges’ passions, not of judges’ policy preferences.”
Nate Madden is a Staff Writer for Conservative Review, focusing on religious freedom, immigration, and the judiciary. He previously served as the Director of Policy Relations for the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative. A Publius Fellow, John Jay Fellow, Citadel Parliamentary Fellow and National Journalism Center alumnus, Nate’s writing has previously appeared in several religious and news publications. Follow him @NateMaddenCR and on Facebook.