Read Novels before casting judgment

“In American legal discourse, empathy is often portrayed as less respectable than Satan. Judges are presented as elements in the vast economic machine. Their job is to keep the conveyor belt flowing and to dispose of human widgets who come out defective. For these functionaries to be aware of those standing before them as fellow human beings would be dangerous.”

Yet, “Reading [novels] makes a judge capable of projecting himself into the lives of others, lives that have nothing in common with his own, even lives in completely different eras or cultures. And this empathy, this ability to envision the practical consequences on one’s contemporaries of a law or a legal decision, seems to me a crucial quality in a judge.”

Therefore three cheers to Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who read Marcel Proust, and proclaimed the French author:

“the Shakespeare of the inner world,” “a writer who can give readers a sense of knowing the one thing it is completely impossible to know—what it is like to be another person.”

Source: theatlantic.com

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