Thomas Sowell produced 4 great columns about this topic last week. A response of sorts from slate magazine.
Webster's defines empathy as "the experiencing as one's own the feelings of another." Obama, in The Audacity of Hope, described empathy as "a call to stand in somebody else's shoes and see through their eyes." To Obama, empathy chiefly means applying a principle his mother taught him: asking, "How would that make you feel?" before acting. Empathy in a judge does not mean stopping midtrial to tenderly clutch the defendant to your heart and weep. It doesn't mean reflexively giving one class of people an advantage over another because their lives are sad or difficult. When the president talks about empathy, he talks not of legal outcomes but of an intellectual and ethical process: the ability to think about the law from more than one perspective.
It's funny that this writer seems to know exactly what the President means while everyone suspects that empathy in the law is supposed to right those wrongs the legislature didn't get around to righting. We suspect this because every other liberal nominated to the court since the 1950s crusaded instead of applying the law.
The court has already become a super legislature that answers to no one and Obama is asking that a potential justice be willing to peek through the blindfold.