How Nice: Justice Sotomayor 'Alert to the Humanity' of People in Her Opinions

After a couple of long, cautionary front-page stories documenting the Supreme Court's "sharp jolt to the right," reporter Adam Liptak on Tuesday took a shorter, mostly sympathetic look at the empathy and "humanity" shown by Obama's liberal pick, Justice Sonia Sotomayor in "Sotomayor Guides Courts' Liberal Wing."

Liptak's overall report was pretty balanced in its labeling, but also contained this paragraph summarizing one of Sotomayor's "most telling" opinions, on the Supreme Court's decision not to hear the case of a Louisiana prisoner claiming unjust punishment.

Justice Sotomayor has completely dispelled the fear on the left that her background as a prosecutor would align her with the court's more conservative members on criminal justice issues. And she has displayed a quality - call it what you will - that is alert to the humanity of the people whose cases make their way to the Supreme Court.

Is "humanity" the new word for "empathy," the extra-judiciary quality Obama was criticized for seeking in a Supreme Court Justice?

Times Watch summarized the Times' strong sympathy toward its favorite daughter Sotomayor in a 2010 Special Report, "Supremely Slanted, which included a description of Sotomayor's management of her own diabetes as a "no-nonsense attitude, combined with the attention to detail that characterizes her legal opinions."