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News John Roberts Baseball Umpire or Supreme Court Judge?

  1. Sep 12, 2005 #1
    Just watched some of the John Roberts hearing. Made simplistic analogy of the proposed position being like the umpire at a baseball game. To paraphrase: "to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat". Key points I heard from his speech: (which was basically a canned interview speech as anyone who has been in multiple job interviews)

    1) He never imagined having the opportunity to be in the position he is in today.

    2) He thanked all those who have made it possible: Family, GWB, colleagues

    3) He intentionally or unintentionally negatively reflected on the life of a colleague who had recently passed away (I did not see the relevance)

    4) He indicated of a situation where he won a case against the government. Specifically indicated that HE viewed the law more correctly.

    5) He doesn't make the law, he just calls it like HE sees it.

    6) He does not have an agenda because he is not a politician.

    7) Politicians make promises.

    8) He promised to be impartial and non-political.

    Supreme Court makes laws... They are not just umpires... They can decide to change the color of the baseball, the shape of the bases, the height of the fences, the number of fielders, and then make the ultimate call between balls and strikes.

    Personally, I've been an umpire and have been a basketball ref... I don't know why people trust me, but they do... I can, at anytime, make a bad call intentionally. No matter what the replay says, the Ref makes the final call.

    This John Roberts does not appear to understand or (at least) acknowledge the scope of the position for which he is to hold.

    Perhaps he is just THAT confident in the system.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 12, 2005 #2
    The supreme court does not make laws, you're wrong about that. And what your seeing is called "false humility" - believe me, Roberts will be the most aggresively activist chief justice you've ever seen.
  4. Sep 12, 2005 #3
    I don't know the guy personally, but from some of his written musings like "the so called right to privacy." leads me to believe you regretfully may be right on the mark!

    Didn't get a chance to see the hearings, maybe I'll stream them later and be able to offer more insight.
  5. Sep 12, 2005 #4
    I didn't see the hearings either, but any judge who claims his job does not involve making laws is a bold-faced lair. Well, I suppose there is also the far off chance that a "judge" doesn't understand the concept of common law; but either way, such a man is not even fit to wear a robe.

    On the other hand, I don't see any reason to disagree with his comment of "the so called right to privacy." Not that I have anything but the utmost respect for such desires and the laws which respect them, but I am not aware of any legal grounds to claim a generalized "right to privacy" exists. Am I missing something here?

    Edit: I'm reading the transcript and it looks like I got a bit to carried away with my comment above as he never actually claimed that judges don't make laws, but rather glazed over the facts of common law in his umpire analogy. Granted, do I think that is rather weaselish but my "not fit to wear a robe" comment isn't rightly applicable here.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2005
  6. Sep 12, 2005 #5


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    This article has some quotes from the hearings: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9175162/ Some Republican Senators are advising him not to answer questions (reassuring him most of the Senate "will understand" hint, hint). I realize candidates don't answer all the questions, but this puts me off.

    Here's a couple of them:

    Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.
    Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah

    I think we should remember these names in upcoming elections.
  7. Sep 12, 2005 #6
    If I understand, to say that it is a "so called right" means that in his opinion it should not be a right.

    It's like if someone on this forum claimed to have won the Nobel prize, and it was obvious that this claim was a fabrication, we might say 'So tell us more about your so-called nobel prize' indicating that we don't believe it exists.
  8. Sep 12, 2005 #7
    Oh how the hands of time tend to play with ones memories.

  9. Sep 12, 2005 #8
    Actually, his comment was in regard to a particular trial where a generalized "right to privacy" was claimed as grounds for the ruling; where as I said, I am not familiar with any legal grounds to back that position.

    And yeah, SOS, those quotes are rather shameful, but we have to consider that those congressmen were quite likely doing their jobs in representing their respective constituencies.

    Lastly, Good stuff Faust. :tongue:
  10. Sep 12, 2005 #9


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    Personally, I think the umpire analogy is a good (and correct) one.

    So far, it seems this guy is flying low, under the radar. And that's not what a lot of people have been expecting. A lot of people in a lot of the conversations about Bush prior to the election had Bush nominating super-right-wing bible-beaters to the USSC. It would appear that those fears were unfounded.
  11. Sep 13, 2005 #10
    I think it is a very slick as the correlation to common law is there if one understands that umpire practices exactly that in many ways; so while that aspect of such positions was blatantly avoided in his description, it still fits the analogy nicely. Unfortunately, that only goes to build my concern that he may well be exactly the super-right-wing bible-beater that was expected, yet so well greased that no one will take notice until after the fact.
  12. Sep 13, 2005 #11
    you are right to oppose my post, as my examples were not very good... but by setting precedence perceptions of law and (dare I say) social morals are shaped.

    What IS and IS NOT a strike? Does the strike zone change or does the shape of home plate change? Is the batboy allowed to come to bat? Perhaps these are better analogies.

    For anyone who has been a referee or played in sports, a bad call at a crucial point in time is all that it takes to turn the tides and change history.

    If there are any professional wrestling fans out there, remember Dangerous Danny Davis?

    Although no one goes to watch the umpire, the umpire is key to the outcome of the game.
  13. Sep 13, 2005 #12


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    Don't you just love politicians?
  14. Sep 13, 2005 #13


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    MEMBER STATEMENTS - http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearing.cfm?id=1610

    I found the statements by Senators Brownback (R-Kansas) and Coburn (R-Oklohoma) disturbing. IMO, they definitely reflect the religious right and the desire to impose one set of religious views on the entire country. And against that is what the courts must protect.

    Senator Brownback's statements -


    An umpire must make sure that the game is not 'fixed' in favor of one side, or that one side changes the rules arbitrarily. An umpire must ensure fairness.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2005
  15. Sep 13, 2005 #14


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    Senator Coburn's statements -


    One America? Who get's to decide what this one America is?

    IMO, the statement on partisanship is disingenuous. It hasn't been decades of court intervention, but rather politians seeking to undermine individual liberties, failing to uphold the law, or otherwise undermining the Constitution
  16. Sep 13, 2005 #15


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    I don't see why you're so impressed with your ability to intentionally make bad calls. I refereed soccer and could make bad calls without even trying. :rofl:

    The analogy to an umpire or referee is a good one, but bad calls aren't the problem.

    The strike zone doesn't always have to stay the same size, even it's the same size for both teams during that particular game. Two little league teams with wild pitchers, an umpire with a lick of common sense isn't going to have a very small strike zone - the ump eventually wants to go home.

    Or, something I'm a little more familiar with, soccer referees let their own opinion of the game affect the way they call a game. In my opinion, referees that have played the game allow a lot more physical contact than referees that have more experience with American sports like basketball. That can have a huge impact on how a game turns out, even if called fairly. An aggressive, physical team will do much better when the referee sees a lot of physical contact as a natural part of the game and a finesse team will do much better when the referee tends to call a very 'tight' game, allowing very little physical contact.

    Roberts's appointment will have the same impact on cases that come before the Supreme Court. Someone will be positively affected by a conservative Supreme Court Justice and someone will be negatively affected by a conservative Supreme Court Justice even if the judge is fair and competent.
  17. Sep 13, 2005 #16
    God, and God has no tolerance for baby-killers. At least that is what I got out of Coburn's statements and more indirectly from Brownback as well.
  18. Sep 13, 2005 #17
    So we get a low key right-wing bible beater, the result will be the same.

    Although replacing Rehnquist with Roberts is a wash. It is the replacement for O'Connor that will swing the court, so that Edwin Meese's judicial agenda will finally be realized. And that includes the religious rights argument that the constitution only guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, and that there is no "wall of separation between Church and State".

    It really saddens me to see this great country go down this ideological dead end.

    Is it just coincidence that they are using baseball analogy, or is it a conspiracy?

    Emphasis added by me.

    God Bless the United Christian Church and State of America!
  19. Sep 13, 2005 #18


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    John G. Roberts
    Biography - from http://www.usdoj.gov/olp/robertsbio.htm [Broken]
    He may not have been a judge, but he has practiced in the USSC and Courts of Appeals, so he knows the process. He is familiar with a range of cases.

    I just hope he is fair, open-minded, and impartial.

    I also hope that he keeps in mind the notion of checks and balances, and that the USSC sometimes has to check the Executive and Legislative Branches when they go too far and begin to infringe upon individual liberty and human rights.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  20. Sep 13, 2005 #19

    Ivan Seeking

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    As for the umpire, I really like moron level analogies; esp from a supreme court judge. :rolleyes:

    He seemed okay until he opened his mouth...
  21. Sep 13, 2005 #20


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    Well I wouldn't be so quick to judge him, yet. The umpire analogy may work, but then various different interests have different ideas about how the umpire should do his or her work.

    Fair and impartial, deliberative and not arbitrary, free of others' political agendas are the keys.
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