“I will seek somebody with a sharp and independent mind, and a record of excellence and integrity,” he said. “I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book, it is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives, whether they can make a living, and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes, and welcome in their own nation. I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with peoples hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.”
In fact, a Supreme Court Justice is supposed to decide Constitutionality in the most detached manner. The SC is a place where matters of law and Constitutionality are decided. It's not a place where sympathetic plaintiffs/defendents get their way. It's not a place where the weak have their lives understood.
This reasoning isn't merely absurd its dangerous. More and more, President Obama makes clear that he believes those in a position of power owe more to the country, and it is his job to take it from them so that those in a lesser position get more from the government. This sort of from each according to means to each according to need philosophy is bad enough in economics, it is just plain absurd when it's applied to the Supreme Court.
You'll notice that when he gave examples of empathy he never said that he is looking for a judge that is empathetic to the pressures of being a Chief Executive Officer or trust fund baby. The president doesn't want a Supreme Court Justice empathetic to all Americans. He wants a Supreme Court Justice empathetic to those Americans that he believes deserve something more from our system.
Take what he said to its logical conclusion. He wants Justices that craft opinions so that folks like single mothers and struggling pay check to pay check middle class folks get relief from the courts. In other words, the Constitution should be ignored or at least manipulated so that it benefits those folks that he finds sympathetic.
In other words, the cases shouldn't be framed so that Justices decide whether or not an issue say meets the standards of the fourth amendment. Instead, the fourth amendment needs to be framed so that a single mother benefits. This is what he is saying he is looking for from a Supreme Court Justice. He wants the Supreme Court to be a tool of Social Justice and worse than that, he doesn't hide his intentions at all.