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Personal biases
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Republicans in the U.S. Senate have framed the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor as a choice between judges as "neutral arbiters" versus those who bring their "personal biases and viewpoints" to cases they decide. Interesting that they have developed such an interest in principled decision making after using slavish opposition to Roe v. Wade as an internal litmus test for any Republican nominee.

The notion of a "neutral arbiter" is a complete and utter fiction. True, judges do strive to be as fair as possible, well, the vast majority of them do, but that doesn't mean that they can put aside all their "personal biases and viewpoints." Nor should they.

The legal system, like all of our other systems, is a human enterprise. We don't do it all that well, but quite honestly I am surprised we do as well as we do. A vast part of our legal system rests upon some rather fundamental "personal biases and prejudices." For example, how would a judge evaluate whether a witness is telling the truth other than based on their "personal biases and prejudices."

We can dress that up to say their judicial and life experience, but it amounts to the same thing. Some judges presume that the police always tell the truth about confidential informants. Some judges don't.

Some judges err on the side of individual rights. Some judges don't. But, they all operate within the broad parameters of the law that begins and ends with us as people.

There is no external yardstick for measuring "personal biases and viewpoints" when it comes to judges.
Anyone who says otherwise has a personal yardstick with which they want to measure judges and to use on you should you disagree.

Patrick Durusau is a resident of Covington. His columns regularly appear on Fridays