I Just Can’t Relate

     “You maybe don’t care whether it’s Jones or Smith who is not getting the promotion,” he said. “All you care about is who is getting the promotion. All you care about is his race.”
     
     You know this is a trick question but play along anyway: Who is being quoted above?
     I’ll give you a hint. The quote is from the June 1 issue of The New Yorker and the person speaking is a U. S. Supreme Court justice during oral argument.
     Clearly, here is someone who has empathy – that oh-so-controversial quality that President Barack Obama wants to see in a Supreme Court justice.
     Naturally, however, our mystery speaker, if you didn’t already know, is Chief Justice John Roberts – a guy who has absolutely no problem showing his empathy for the white majority.
     In fact, it’s pretty hard to find a ruling on just about anything that doesn’t show some empathy for somebody (whether you like that somebody or not). Often it’s some poor corporation burdened with paperwork.
     Or it could be empathy for the “founding fathers” who clearly wanted us all to have assault rifles in our homes.
     So why is the concept of empathy suddenly so controversial?
     I think all of you already know the answer to that question, so let’s cut right to the fun part of the issue: if empathy is bad, how do you find justices who have no empathy?
     For that matter, how do you change the court system to get rid of all that unwanted empathy?
     Those of you who had them, hearken back to your theoretical law school days. You might recall some talk about seeking equity, equitable decisions, and judging the demeanor and/or credibility of witnesses. Judges are even supposed to gauge the mentality of jurors to make sure they don’t get overly excited by some piece of evidence.
     Empathy abounds.
     The first needed tweak to the system is pretty obvious. You want justice to be blind, so justices should be blind.
     Oh sure, you could put blindfolds on judges before they walk into court, but sighted people have seen stuff, so they have preconceptions. They will empathize.
     And yes, I do realize that a special court will have to be set up for litigation involving the handicapped because, after all, those blind guys will have empathy for the handicapped. We can spare a few sighted, healthy jurists for that court and that court alone.
     Ah, but you’re thinking, even blind justices have feelings. Well, there are drugs for that.
     Drugged, blind justices will have to do until the engineering on the computerized justices is complete.
     Justice Terminator will save us.
     
     FRIENDLY FIRE. More evidence that life in the military is indeed dangerous comes from a U. S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruling called Hyatt v. Shinseki:
     “In 1959, Mr. Hyatt was injured when a member of his military unit negligently struck him in the back with a bayonet during a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.”
     But the unit was fully prepared for any zombie attacks in that cemetery.
     
     ANOTHER INTERNET HORROR. The Attorney General of the State of Pennsylvania has issued a press release that includes this piece of advice: “Parents should stress that Internet predators will use whatever they can to attract the attention of children, from offers of gifts like video games or digital cameras, to things like dressing up in animal costumes or shopping for sexy underwear.”
     Dressing up in animal costumes?
     Big Bird and Barney may not be the friends you want getting too close.

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