Wednesday, October 22, 2008


The game was coming to an end.

There were only 53 seconds left to play.

The score was Miami 14, the Colts 21.

Miami had the ball on the Colts' 25 yard line.

It was third and ten.

The ball was snapped.

Pennington dropped back to pass.

Suddenly the head official blew his whistle and came running into the middle of the fray.

Play stopped.

"OK!" yelled the official. "No more forward passes."

Pennington turned in amazement, "Say what!?"

"You heard what I said...NO MORE FORWARD PASSES. If you want to play this game, you'll have to run the ball."

"You can't do that!" Pennington was really frustrated.

"Oh yes I can! The NFL has given me the power to change whatever rule I want to, any time I want to. All I have to do is to issue a decree. And I'm issuing one now: NO MORE FORWARD PASSES!"

Wouldn't that just get your goat?

Imagine changing the rules in the middle of the game.

There is a process for changing the rules. But it's not done by the officials on the field.

It's done by the NFL Rules Committee during the off season.

In our country, The United States of America, there is a rule book. It's called The Constitution of the United States of America.

In it there is are four provisions for changing it, two of which have never been used.

They are:
1) Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state conventions (never used)
2) Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state legislatures (never used)
3) Proposal by Congress, ratification by state conventions (used once)
4) Proposal by Congress, ratification by state legislatures (used all other times)

There is a reason numbers one and two have never been used: they are considered radical and potentially dangerous, as they could be used to change the very nature of the Constitution.

Holding a Constitutional Convention would usually be reserved for the purpose of completely altering the fabric of American society and jurisprudence, and reforming it as a new country.

There are those who consider the Constitution a "living document," subject to change at the whim of the nine members of the Supreme Court.

Like the errant football official, they have sought, and in many cases have, changed the rules in the middle of the game, by judicial decree.

They are considered the "liberal" members of the Supreme Court. For them, the Constitution is a "living," "breathing" document that can be changed on the fly, like the breathing of a marathon runner after the race.

The more conservative members of the Court, see the Constitution as "living" and "breathing," but doing so slowly, like the breathing of a Yoga practitioner.

John McCain promises, if elected, to nominate judges to the Supreme Court who understand the intent of the writers of the Constitution, and who would work through the amendment process if changes are needed.

Barack Obama has stated his intent to nominate to the Supreme Court, judges who are activists, who believe they have the power to change what they see as needing change whenever they see the need for change, without going through the process of allowing citizens to have a voice in that change.

Some of you like the latter you think.

Wait until some activist judges start messing with one of YOUR "sacred cows."

You'll see.


shoprat said...

If there were no other reasons at all, and there are many more, that alone would be a reason to vote for McCain.

Joe said...

shoprat: ab and solutely!

Tapline said...

Joe, Shoprat is so right....That would be one of the biggest reasons for doing so. Another would be that I believe Mc really loves his country and he has been tried and tested. He has been through the fire and is tempered steel.....I don't like his amnesty, nor his take on globalism. I certainly do not like his take on energy, but He's changing slow but sure....Palin should make him see the light on that. Maybe, if the enviornmentals haven't bought him...I fear that might be the case..However the alternative would be disasterous, and his cult followers are like sheep being led to the slaughter. willingly!!!..I ramble....stay well....

Anonymous said...

Changing the rules in the middle of the game would bring chaos, how can anyone think doing it to the country would be any different.

Jim O'Sullivan said...

As a Jet fan, I thought this post was going to be about how the ref was trying to give Miami a break. I mean, if you're depending on "hanging Chad" to do your passing...

Joe said...

tapline: The upcoming list of judges will be interesting.

jennifer: Chaos looms ahead if BO wins.

jim o'sullivan: Thank you for the visit. You'll never know who won that game.

Are you a lawyer? If so, I would love to pick your brain relative to the Constitution

Anonymous said...

I'm not a lawyer, but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn last night. Okay, that's a lie ... and proof that I have no original comedic material.

Perri Nelson is an excellent blogger, and one who has a very good knowledge of the Constitution. That's because he was one of the founding fathers.

Well, that's what Jennifer said.

Semper Fi

Ron said...


I'm not a lawyer, but I sometimes think I play one on the radio! Seriously, great conversation, but I am always reminded that my citizenship is first in Heaven. I am merely a temporary resident here in the United States. That reminds me that no matter what the outcome, God has already ordained what will become of this country.

Pasadena Closet Conservative said...

See my post about gay marriage in California and the havoc wreaked by the state supreme court!

Anonymous said...

Huh? What? Who me? Have I been talking in my sleep again? Dag Nabbit!

Jim O'Sullivan said...

I am a member of that vanishing breed - a conservative New York lawyer. What would you like to discuss?

Joe said...

jim o'sullivan: I have and read copies of the Constitution, and in most cases it looks so straight forward.

Take the hot button issue of abortion.

How does the SC find anything in the Constitution that deals with abortion?

Whatever happened to the idea that what isn't specifically in the Constitution must be left to the states.

These and 131.6877 other questions I have, mostly about the Supreme Court.

Anonymous said...

Joe, I used to teach US government and comparative politics. The underlying and indisputable truth about the SCOTUS is this: the Constitution says what the Supreme Court says that it says.

And this is why we MUST have strict constructionists on the Supreme Court, rather than liberal loonies who think it is a living, breathing document.

If Congress decides that the Constitution is no longer relevant, there are several mechanisms for amending it. None of those involve the SCOTUS.

Semper Fi

Joe said...

mustang or jim: Thanks. I guess what I'm getting at is the thought processes that brought the SCOTUS to believe that it had the power to interpret the Constitution. As I read Article III, they have the right to rule as to whether an enacted law meets the demands of the Constitution, whether a lower court ruling meets those demands, but NOT the power to change the Constitution itself.

At any rate, I totally agree that the selection of judges this go around (including lower court judges) is of paramount importance.

That's the MAIN REASON I'll be voting for McCain...although I'm not totally convinced his choices will be what we need, at least they're more likely to be than BO's nominations.

Jim O'Sullivan said...

You really have to read Roe v. Wade to appreciate the outrage that it represents. The majority concedes that the right it creates (a right to abort a fetus, euphemisticly disguised as a "right to privacy")is nowhere in the constitution. The majority just reads into the document to force it to mandate adoption of its own view on a controversial social issue. At the time, even some legal scholars who FAVORED liberal abortion laws protested. Ironically, as Judge Rehnquist describes in his dissent (click on his name) conservatives judges had abused the constitution in exactly the same way six decades earlier.
If Obama gets to appoint judges for the next eight years, this is how our nation will be governed routinely. Get used to it.