Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Governor Dayton appointed a Hmong woman to fill a vacant judgeship in Ramsey County.  He has a track record of history-making judicial appointments: first Native American woman, first openly gay woman, first Hispanic appellate court judge . . . all very progressive and helping to increase the diversity of people sitting on the bench.  But I wonder . . . does it do any good?

Suppose I am a Black man who has been accused of robbing a gay man.  Can I request the Black judge instead of the gay judge?  After all, isn’t that the purpose of increasing diversity on the bench — to have people with different backgrounds who can bring empathy and perspective to the proceedings?  If I can’t pick my judge, then what difference does it make to have diversity on the bench?

Worse, if we empty the bench of hard-hearted old men who judge the case on the law and the facts without regard to who the parties are, and replace them with empathetic young women eager to understand the plight of underdogs, will the rest of the judicial system become like family court?

Joe Doakes

Like that’s not the goal…

5 thoughts on “Empathy

  1. Just as Lady Justice is blindfolded, perhaps judges should be shielded from seeing whom the defendant is.

  2. Nothing new here. Back in the 1970s, Senator Roman Hruska (immortalized in the epic song “Dead Puppies”) made a name for himself by noting that even Americans of average or below average ability deserve representation on the federal bench. I dare suggest that President Obama heard him loud and clear, especially on the DC circuit and the 9th Circus Court.

  3. So how can you complain that a judge was biased when a judge is supposed to be biased?

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