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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

When it comes to judging judges...

Perhaps you've heard before that President Obama believes that a well-qualified judge is able to show empathy. If not, consider this quote from Obama's July 2007 speech to Planned Parenthood Action, as quoted by NR Bench Memos: "And we need somebody who’s got the heart—the empathy—to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old—and that’s the criteria by which I’ll be selecting my judges."

With today's nomination of Judge Sotomayor in the news, I was reminded of God's commands about judging. I know that the civil laws given to Moses don't apply to our nation, but I think it is useful to remember what God expects out of the practice of law (my emphases):
You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit. (Ex. 23:2-3)

You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD. (Lev. 19:15-16)

Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him. You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God's. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it. (Deut. 1:16b-17)

1 comment:

Sharon said...

We just did the passage on the Civil Law last week in BSF, and that bit about not being partial to the poor man struck me as well. A lot of times we focus on the perspective of God as loving and merciful, and forget that He is also Holy. His Holiness means He alone is equipped to judge the human heart (deceitful in all things). It is interesting that as our societies struggle to become more tolerant and merciful of some, they become far more intolerant and unmerciful towards others. Only the LORD is able to judge perfectly. Which is a great comfort to me, knowing my life is in His just hands.

~ Sharon

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