Sonia Sotomayor, U.S. Supreme court justice nominee, asserted in a lecture given eight years ago that “personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.”

Excerpt from an article by Dick Polman

Sotomayor has only been stating the obvious. Judges are human. They need to respect legal precedent, follow the law, apply the facts and aspire to impartiality. But they’re ultimately required to make tough interpretative calls — or in the words of Harvard law professor Martha Minow, ”There is no objective stance, but only a series of perspectives, no neutrality, no escape from choice” — and to do that they will inevitably draw upon who they are.

As Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, ”The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.” Maybe what’s needed most in our rarefied berobed priesthood is a bit more life diversity, to reflect our 21st-century pluralism. Sotomayer’s conservative critics might be wise to view that diversity not as a threat, but as a celebration.

Dick Polman is a columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

To read his article in full, click here.

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