Right-leaning thinkers from Edmund Burke to Friedrich Hayek understood that emotion is prone to overshadow reason. They understood that emotion can be a wise guide in some circumstances and a dangerous deceiver in others. It’s not whether judges rely on emotion and empathy, it’s how they educate their sentiments within the discipline of manners and morals, tradition and practice.
The more you look at this paragraph in the context of the asinine attacks on Sotomayor and "identity politics" the more it stops being harmless and like a Uriah Heep compliment starts to fit into the meme.
John Cole certainly noticed:
It’s a slippery slope from empathy to emotion. And I think we all know how emotional Latinas are, right? I wonder if we’re going to see suggestions that Sotomayor lets her spicy, fiery Latin temperament cloud her judgements.
And here's the non-editorial part of the NY Times abetting the stupid stereotype.