Last week, when Supreme Court Justice David Souter said that he intended to retire, President Obama said that in naming a replacement, he would not only “seek somebody with a sharp and independent mind and a record of excellence and integrity,” but also someone who has “empathy” for “the daily realities of people’s lives.” Conservatives quickly latched onto Obama’s use of the word “empathy,” lampooning it and claiming it is a “code word” for an “activist judge.” Guest hosting Bill Bennett’s radio show today, RNC chairman Michael Steele derided “crazy nonsense empathetic.” “I’ll give you empathy. Empathize right on your behind!” said Steele. Listen here:
STEELE: 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.