This was inspired by Steve Deace's blog today. Here is his blog and my take on impeachment after.
Each week we take a question we’ve been asked a lot and answer it on the blog.
Question: Do you have any specific suggestions for people you’d like to see fill one of the three vacancies on the State Supreme Court?
According to The Des Moines Register, 61 people applied for those three vacancies and the state nominating commission will meet January 24th to begin the interview process for the applicants. The list of names include some very accomplished legal eagles, but if you ask me the sort of ideal candidate we could be looking for never applied.
I’m thinking of someone specifically.
Someone with a background in interpreting the law by walking the tightrope between their own beliefs and what the law actually states, without losing their balance.
Someone who clearly has demonstrated in his career up to this point that he understands he’s not allowed to make up new rules as he sees fit, but instead must apply the rules as they’re clearly stated in his rulings.
Someone with the confidence to make his rulings regardless of public scrutiny for every potential mistake, but at the same time still humble enough to realize he’s not the ultimate or final authority on what is or isn’t legal so he tempers his passions and preferences accordingly.
And finally, someone who has the respect of his peers – even those who at times have disagreed with his rulings – because his integrity and dedication to his craft is above reproach.
If you’re thinking such a dream candidate doesn’t exist, think again. This person not only exist but he’s right here in our own backyard, and he’s proven himself on a national stage in front of billions of people while meeting each of the criteria I just listed.
Who is this dream State Supreme Court candidate you ask? He’s none other than West Des Moines native and Major League Baseball umpire extraordinaire Tim McClelland.
Going on four decades of service, McClelland has consistently been ranked by Major League Baseball players as the best at what he does. And what he does best is behave as a mostly even tempered and judicious dispenser of baseball justice.
McClelland has his own opinions, and over the years wasn’t shy about expressing them on my sports talk radio programs back in the day. But once he says “play ball” and the game begins he sets that aside and simply calls it like he sees it. Sure, his strike zone may vary from other umpires and he doesn’t get every judgment call correct. However, when it comes to the calls that are fundamental to the rules of baseball he plays it by the book and dispassionately applies them, no matter how much pressure he may feel from the multitude in the stands waiting to let him have it when he doesn’t rule their way.
In many respects, the way McClelland umpires a Major League Baseball game where every player is making substantially more money than he does is a model for what our founders intended the judiciary branch to be. He interprets to the best of his ability, but always within the written framework of the rules set before him by those empowered to make the rules.
He might not like that the Yankees and Red Sox have the money to sign every desirable free agent, but he doesn’t umpire their games versus the monetarily-challenged Kansas City Royals differently because he views it as his role to make things “fair.” Instead, he understands his role is to make things fair by impartially applying the rules made by the rule makers as best as he can.
How that translates to McClelland as a potential State Supreme Court justice is simple. In our constitutional republic “all political power is inherit in the people.” The first manifestation of the people’s power is found in those they elect to represent their interests, which we call the legislature. The legislature represents the lawmakers, while the courts represent the adjudicators. In other words, they apply the law as it is written by the lawmakers, and always with the humble awareness they are ultimately accountable to the Supreme Lawgiver.
No one I know of has more experience successfully navigating these difficult waters than McClelland, and he’s managed to do it under constant despite lacking the insulation of a lifetime appointment. I can’t promise you that as a State Supreme Court justice he’ll make every judgment call correctly, but I can promise you that when it comes to controversies challenging the fundamental aspects of the law itself he will do what he has always done as an umpire—apply the law as it was written by those with the enumerated power to do so.
That way, if the public doesn’t like the law as it is written they can change it by voting in new lawmakers that will do the will of the people. Just like if the fans don’t like the rules of baseball they don’t blame the umpires, since the umpires don’t make the rules or amend the rulebook in the middle of the game, but they put the blame on the owners who do make the rules. And then the owners who want the fans to keep spending their money on Game Day listen to their concerns and decide accordingly, just as lawmakers who want the people’s votes on Election Day have a tendency to do what the people ask of them if the people are persistent enough.
This system puts the power both in politics and professional sports where it always belongs—with those picking up the tab.
Some might be leery of putting someone with no legal background on the State Supreme Court, but when you compare McClelland’s record of impartially applying the law compared to the current crop of State Supreme Court justices, he appears to be more qualified than they are.
My response to what this means to impeachment:
Awesome stuff Steve. In the case of the same sex marriage ruling.We could have used a hockey goalie for judges. They should have just kicked it back to the Legislature to be reconsidered if they found it unconstitutional. If Mc Clelland had performed his umpire duties the same way the judges did in the same sex marriage ruling.There would be accusations of bias, and possible bribery by outside influence. Gamblers? There would be an investigation, and possible loss of his position as an umpire if found guilty. I guess that would be impeaching him wouldn't it? Now after going through the impeachment PROCESS he may be found innocent, and retain his position, except for the fans who still believe he is crooked, and come to the games and throw things at him, to the point the owners start to say. Hey Mc Clelland you are a distraction. Then he is out of the game. Even then in our great country Mc Clelland could still be an umpire. But it would be in the minor leagues. His major league career would be over.
We have four judges who need to be sent to the minors with the other three, that the fans have determined have blown a big call. The only way to send them there is the impeachment process. To wait til their retention vote comes up would be a travesty to justice
4 hours ago