Even if you’re not a football fan, you might have heard about effect the new “roughing the passer” rule had on the Cowboys-Seahawks game during this past week’s game.
Even the normally calm Troy Aikman was angry at the referee’s call. This new rule takes some getting used to but, to play devil’s advocate, the ref was doing his job – holding the game to the current rulebook, different from the old rule book.
And even if you’re not super involved in politics, there’s hardly a possibility you haven’t heard about the confirmation hearings going on right now to determine the next Supreme Court justice.
How are these two things alike?
The Supreme Court justices — really all judges — are like the referees of our nation – they keep the rules (our laws) consistent to the rule book, also known as our Constitution.
We don’t get to make up the rules as we go along in this country – we are a nation of laws and someone must be the keeper of those laws, just like the ref keeps the rules applied in a football game.
Can you imagine if suddenly during a game, the ref decided that it only take 9 yards to make a first down?
Or what if a team was offsides, but the ref liked them, so he just didn’t call it?
Or, one team was consistently called for roughing the passer while the other defense drove the QB into the dirt?
There would be chaos.
Those calls would headline ESPN all week. NFL officials and owners would frantically huddle and the teams involved would likely have an asterisk by their season.
That’s what we’re talking about here with the decisions of the Supreme Court. When these decisions come down, they change everything immediately.
In a football game, the other officials on the field would never let a 9-yard first down stand. They would overrule that ref’s decision.
There are 9 Supreme Court justices – an odd number – so they can debate, look at precedence and make decisions holding the cases up against what they believe to be the law as stated in our Constitution.
This also helps protect the American people from activist judges who have a specific agenda that goes outside of the Constitution. But it also shows the importance of the majority of the Court as judges who use the Constitution as their guide, not their own personal political agenda.
Like it or not, sometimes the decisions are ones we agree with and sometimes they are decisions we believe to be pretty terrible. Either way, they come from our nation’s “rule book” and they shape the game we play every day.
What are your thoughts?
Should refs — or Supreme Court justices — be able to change the rules based on their own perspective and experience, or should they call the play based on the rules everyone agreed on? Let us know on Facebook!