Judging Judges: Empathy as the Litmus Test for Impartiality by Rebecca K. Lee

This Article examines the role of empathy in judging, which has been directly raised and questioned in recent years, in light of the discussion surrounding judicial nominations and appointments to the Supreme Court.

President Barack Obama was right to emphasize that empathy is an important quality to be found in a judicial nominee, but his public support for empathetic judging was unfortunately cut short due to the political controversy and misunderstanding surrounding what empathy means.

The opportunity remains, however, for a renewed discussion regarding judicial empathy by expressly connecting it to our vision of judicial impartiality.

This Article makes an affirmative case for empathetic decision making and argues that empathetic judging is necessary for objective adjudication….

Rebecca K. Lee 
Thomas Jefferson School of Law