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With Obama's third Supreme Court appointment, it's hard not to notice a fascinating pattern.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.


Amid the typical nods to Merrick Garland's impressive qualifications, judicial restraint, and humility, Obama used Garland's introduction to emphasize what he appears to believe is, perhaps, the judge's most important quality:

Garland's ability to put himself in someone else's shoes.

Photo by Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images.

Here's the relevant section of what Obama said (emphasis mine):

"Chief Judge Garland is more than just a brilliant legal mind. He's someone who has a keen understanding that justice is about more than abstract legal theory. More than some footnote in a dusty casebook. His life experience, his experience in places like Oklahoma City, informs his view that the law is more than an intellectual exercise. He understands the way the law affects the daily reality of people's lives in a big, complicated democracy, and in rapidly changing times."

A careful reading of Obama's other Supreme Court introductions confirms that this sort of empathy isn't just a one-off thing with the president — it's a very big theme.

Photo by Jim Watson/Getty Images.

Here's how Obama introduced Justice Elena Kagan when he nominated her in 2010 (emphasis mine):

"But while Elena had a brilliant career in academia, her passion for the law is anything but academic. She has often referred to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she clerked, as her hero. I understand that he reciprocated by calling her “Shorty.” (Laughter.) Nonetheless, she credits him with reminding her that, as she put it, “behind law there are stories -- stories of people’s lives as shaped by the law, stories of people’s lives as might be changed by the law…” That understanding of law, not as an intellectual exercise or words on a page, but as it affects the lives of ordinary people, has animated every step of Elena’s career -- including her service as Solicitor General today."

Photo by Jewel Samad/Getty Images.

...and here's what he said about Justice Sonia Sotomayor during her introduction in 2009 (emphasis mine):

"For as Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, the life of the law has not been logic, it has been experience; experience being tested by obstacles and barriers, by hardship and misfortune; experience insisting, persisting, and ultimately overcoming those barriers. It is experience that can give a person a common touch and a sense of compassion, an understanding of how the world works and how ordinary people live. And that is why it is a necessary ingredient in the kind of justice we need on the Supreme Court."

Obama's focus not just on judicial restraint but on judicial empathy is a quietly revolutionary idea.

Like many of his predecessors, Obama clearly believes that a justice's primary role is to apply the law fairly, or as Chief Justice John Roberts put it during his 2005 confirmation hearings, "call balls and strikes."

"The person I appoint will be someone who recognizes the limits of the judiciary’s role, who understands that a judge’s job is to interpret the law, not make the law," Obama said in Garland's introduction.

But, in Obama's calculus, empathy matters just as much, if not more than that.

The president's focus on empathy is an implicit rebuke to the theory — long held by many in politics and the justice system — that the law is an all-seeing, dispassionate, neutral arbiter that doesn't play favorites.

A rally to protest the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, 2014. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images.

It's a tacit acknowledgement that, in practice, the law often works differently for poor people (something as simple as a traffic ticket can lead to a cascading cycle of debt and arrest if you don't have the resources to pay it)...

...for non-white people (check out these statistics on drug use and sale versus drug arrests for white people and black people)...

...for women (we're still arguing over whether a woman has a right to make a private medical decision about her own body — something men never have to worry about — in 2016)...

...and other demographics too.

More importantly, it's an affirmation of the fact that, while most Americans live lives that might seem worlds apart from the experience of the average Supreme Court Justice, their experiences should never be disregarded by or alienated from the law.

By highlighting this critical character trait in his nominations of Kagan, Sotomayor, and now Garland, Obama has made it clear that empathy is not just nice to have, but a necessary qualification for holding a seat on highest court in the land.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

It's about time.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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Inconvenient things from the '90s no one misses.

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This article originally appeared on July 2, 2019


Sadly, a lot of men go out of their way to avoid learning anything about a woman's period.

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