On May 1st, President Obama announced he considered “empathy” a key quality when considering the kind of nominee he would be seek to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court. Naturally, Republican’s went into hyperbole wondering just what the president meant by an “empathic” judge. RNC Chairman Michael Steele criticized the very idea of a judge that might “look at a petitioners circumstances” rather than “strict adherence to the Constitution”, stating:

I don’t need some judge 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 [this] “empathetic”.”

Sunday on “Meet the Press”, Steele was asked about his comment regarding President Obama considering “empathy” a qualification to be a justice on the Supreme Court. Steele reiterated that he and his Party disapproved of judges that “consider the defendants circumstances”, and doesn’t “strictly interpret the Constitution.”

Ironically, Steele chose the 55th anniversary of “Brown vs. Board of Education”… the ruling that declared segregation (“separate but equal”) to be unconstitutional… as the day to condemn judges showing “empathy” towards defendants:


Re-read Steele’s comment above in the context of “Brown vs. Board of Education”. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

What the Chairman (and Republicans in general) seem blissfully unaware of is the fact that a case doesn’t even reach the Supreme Court unless the Constitutionality of the law itself comes into question. But to make that argument on the 55th anniversary of “Brown v Ed” goes well beyond “blissfully unaware” into “total cluelessness”.