I've been trying to wrap my brain around the topic of whether female judges make different decisions from their counterparts based on the whirlwind conversation surrounding Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Today's New York Times takes a closer look at this topic in an article titled "Debate on Whether Female Judges Decide Differently Arises Anew."
While some believe that these judges should rely solely on upholding the law of the land with the Constitution of the United States as their compass, I cannot help but believe that each judge, no matter their gender or race, comes to the bench with his or her own history that defines how that law is interpreted. And, for me, I take comfort in that since it brings to the table another side of an issue that may be lacking due to inexperience. Justice Ginsberg gave this point some credence when deciding a case concerning a teenage girl.
"They have never been a 13-year-old girl," Justice Ginsburg said of her eight male colleagues, several of whom had suggested during oral argument that they were not troubled by the search.
"It's a very sensitive age for a girl," Justice Ginsburg went on to say in an interview with USA Today. "I didn't think that my colleagues, some of them, quite understood."
For years, the Supreme Court consisted of only white males, but each one had to have brought something of his history to the bench that helped him make either an informative or prejudiced decision, in spite of the fact that the Constitution was to be upheld. If anything, his history contributed in debating each issue on its own merits. Maybe I'm putting too much empathy above the law and maybe that is dangerous and compromises the Constitution, but I'd prefer to have diversity in our justice system instead of inflexible edicts that will not allow for compassion toward our fellow, diverse citizens.