In his opening remarks today, John Roberts told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he has no personal agenda. He compared the work of a Supreme Court justice to that of a baseball umpire, saying:
“I will remember that it’s my job to call balls or strikes, and not to pitch or bat.”
Seems to me, each umpire has an awful lot of discretion determining the strike zone — based on personal preference, often fickle, and with no appeal. In the Supreme Court League, there aren’t that many pitches that go straight down the middle.
beer league softball
the umpire fastens
her chest protector
… by Ed Markowski
p.s. I prefer Blind Justice to a Blind Umpire. And, I have to wonder how a supposedly all-star issue-spotter missed seeing the lameness of this umpire analogy.
update (Sept. 17, 2005): On Sept. 13, Sen. Cornyn questioned Judge Roberts on his umpire anlaogy and philosophy, using Jim Lindgren’s framework. The interchange is a good one, and is reproduced here over at the Volokh Conspiracy. Roberts says he would agree with the second umpire who says “some are balls and some are strikes, and I call them the way I see them.” Roberts explains: “I guess I liked the one in the middle, because I do think there are right answers. . . . . And I think there is meaning [in the Constitution] and I think there is meaning in your legislation. And the job of a good judge is to do as good a job as possible to get the right answer.” That man is sharp and articulate — and always well-prepared.
update (Aug. 3, 2008): The topic of judge-as-umpire has been taken up again almost 4 years later at The Volokh Conspiracy. (via Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice, who yells from the cheap seats: Your Honor, you had to be there to call that pitch!)