Sunday, March 9, 2014

March Madness on/in the Kansas Courts!

March in Kansas can only mean one thing, basketball!  Through the generosity of friends, I was able to attend the final game for this year’s seniors at Allen Field House.  Senior night is always a great night, and I would never complain about being at a game in the Phog, no matter how close we were to the rafters! 

Speaking of rafters, it is just not basketball if the fans do not have a lot of advice for the referees, no matter where they are sitting.  There is always that guy who can see every call better than the referee even from 200 feet away.  They always make me chuckle at their absurdity, but referee heckling guy is always so adamant, even when the call is an out of bounds call at the other end of the court.

Speaking of courts, in our system of government, the courts fill a similar role to that of referees.  The job of the courts is to make judgments about whether rules are being followed, just like a basketball referee.  Certainly referees have to be quicker with their calls, but the basics are the same.

Like referees, the courts come under fire both by the teams and coaches (legislative and executive branches) and the fans (us regular folks).  Like referees, they cannot let teams, coaches or fans influence their decisions.  Neither can they show emotion or signs of not being completely objective, no matter what advice or expletives are hurled from the cheap seats or expensive chairs.

Leading up to the release of the Gannon case, there was a lot of court heckling.  The court has no business telling us what to do is the judicial equivalent of the coach or fan who says “let ‘em play” when the calls are going against her team.  Of course the call of “foul” or “get ‘em off” is just as loud when the calls are going against my team.  Just like when we want the court to uphold our constitutional rights.

Who can forget the famous incident when Oklahoma coach Billy Tubbs got on the microphone at the request of the referees in an attempt to calm the crowd and keep the OU fans from making it rain pennies on the court?  “No matter how bad the officiating is, please do not throw things on the court!” he said over the public address system to the delight of the crowd.  Enough time has passed that even a Jayhawk fan can laugh and appreciate that great line.  Maybe someday Kansans will laugh and appreciate a legislator saying they will “give the courts the finger.”

The referees and judges job is not to hear any of this, and to do their jobs.  Our role as believers in the separation of powers is to adhere to the decision and work within the confines of the law and constitution.  Its that, or take our ball and go home.  Yes, we all knew that kid growing up, and we know that he ended up with no friends and no one to play with.

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