Monday, June 7, 2010

Selig for the Supreme Court

Maybe President Obama should look to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig in choosing a replacement for retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. I know you're back there laughing and snickering and wondering if I've lost my mind. I assure you I haven't.

Why Bud Selig? Let's go back to the night of June 2, 2010 at Comerica Park in Detroit where Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was on the verge of making history. Two out in the top of the ninth, the Cleveland Indians had sent 26 batters to the plate and all 26 had returned to the dugout without reaching base. One more out and Mr. Galarraga would have pitched only the 21st perfect game in major league history.

Then came the blown call of all blown calls. Jason Donald hit a weak grounder and Galarraga ran to cover first. The umpire, Jim Joyce, stood by the bag and called Donald safe despite Galarraga beating him to the base by more than a step. To his credit, Mr. Joyce owned up to the call and apologized for it.

Now the ball was in Mr. Selig's hands. Everyone had seen the video. Everyone know Donald was out. Everyone knew that the umpire's blown call cost Galarraga his spot in the record books. Surely Mr. Selig would look at the evidence and decide that it was in baseball's best interest to reverse the call and award Mr. Galarraga the perfect game he pitched.

But not so fast, despite the evidence Mr. Selig held firm and told the world that the rules are the rules and that he would not undo the end of the game. Even though he knew the call was wrong and that Galarraga had his perfect game stolen from him, Mr. Selig stood firm that he would not overturn a call made by an umpire on the field.

Why, then, should Mr. Selig sit on the highest court in the land?

It goes a little like this... The Fourth Amendment protects us from unreasonable search and seizure. The Supreme Court decided that this protection was so important that any evidence obtained by means of an unreasonable search would be deemed inadmissible and would not be allowed to be presented to a jury. The "exclusionary rule" became the ultimate sanction the court could impose upon the state. And whenever a judge excluded evidence obtained by an illegal search or seizure, the judge was saying, in essence, that it didn't matter that the evidence showed the accused committed the crime and that it didn't matter that he knew and the police knew and the attorneys knew the accused committed the crime -- the rules are the rules.

Sound familiar?

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