BigBennP comments on "The justices, she argues, are no longer equipped to understand how their decisions affect average Americans. This decline in judicial empathy is a function of the increasing insularity of the men and women in black.": When it comes to lawyers and judges there are basically three levels. Mechanics, engineers and physicists.
Most lawyers and many judges are mechanics. Their job is to rely on
established precedent and written law, take the facts, and fit the facts
to the law. SOmetimes there's some creative problem solving, but they
don't usualyl change the law.
Some lawyers and many judges are engineers. (Some law professors
too) Their job is to take new facts, and develop new solutions to meet
those facts, and make new law in the process. They create new law, but
it's usually limited to the specific application.
A select few judges and law professors are physicists. They study the
system as a whole, and convert guiding principles of ideology into
concrete rules that become broad new points of law, and guide everyone
else in their work.