There's a story out tonight that President Obama may pick a Supreme Court nominee as early as this week, which doesn't surprise me much (and I still think, more than ever, that it will be federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor). What does surprise me, a little, is this bizarre interview with Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, recounting his phone conversation with the president:

Hatch raised concerns initially that Obama was using "buzz words" for a liberal activist justice by suggesting he wanted someone who had "empathy" for the country's problems. But Obama told Hatch "that was not what he meant, and I take him at his word ... and that he assured me that he would not be picking a radical or an extremist for the court that he was very pragmatic in his approach and that he would pick somebody who would abide by the rule of law."

Really! I mean heaven forbid we had someone up there in a black robe actually caring about the problems and everyday concerns of Americans, as opposed to the button-down corporatist toadies we mostly have in there now. Did you know that "empathy" is an evil code word for "socialist," because I did not know that. In fact, here is the definition of "empathy" from Wikipedia:

Empathy is the capability to share your feelings and understand another's emotion and feelings. It is often characterized as the ability to "put oneself into another's shoes," or in some way experience what the other person is feeling.

Good God! It's true -- Obama is going to destroy the social fabric of this nation, and in just 110 days, no less. Appointing judges who are able to see things from someone else's perspective! Seriously, haven't Orrin Hatch and the rest of the GOP heard of multi-tasking, that maybe it's possible to follow the rule of law and have "empathy" at the same time? You have to wonder how the party leaders can have a successful "listening tour" when they think "empathy" is from a foreign language.