The Infield Fly Rule and Governor Cuomo

  • by Pete O'Brien
  • 03-14-2021
Sports are about rules. If you don't think so, look up the infield fly rule. It is spelled out in detail. Sports are also, of course, about athletic ability, but bounded by clear, unambiguous rules. (Okay, sometimes they're ambiguous; ask anyone what a balk is and then watch a baseball game…) And you don’t willy-nilly change the rules. For example, professional baseball is considering changing the size of the bases and how the bases are made as a result of players getting injured (knees and ankles) with the current material. And to work this out they’ve designated one Double A league to use a slightly larger bag made of a different material and then they’ll evaluate the results.
Rules. And Process.
Consider football. After hearing some folks pontificate that Refs should “just let them play” vis-a-vis the latest Super Bowl, an astute friend of mine noted: “The Super Bowl should be the most strictly called game of the year. Hundreds of games were played in order to get to this game, now isn’t the time to change the game, now is the time to make sure that the game as designed is the one being played. If you’re going to start throwing out rules why not let linebackers carry brass knuckles?”
Just so. Rules. And no place should rules be more strictly enforced than in the operations of our governments - federal, state and local. Above the doors to the Supreme Court building has, in stone, is written: Equal Justice Under Law. The key words are: “Under Law.” As Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes told Judge Learned Hand, when Judge Hand urged him to “Do justice, Sir, Do Justice,” “No,” Judge Holmes observed, “that is not my job. It is my job to apply the law.”
Just so, in baseball, in football, in government.
And so we come to Governor Cuomo of New York. Personally, I am, to say the least, not a fan.
He’s been accused of a number of things, the least of which being several sexual assaults; he’s also accused of, in one way or another, contributing to the deaths of several thousand citizens of New York in his horrible handling of the Wuhan virus. Amidst these allegations is now a rising chorus calling for his resignation.
He should not resign.
Why not? Because a majority of the voters in New York elected him. He needs to fulfill the term of his office. The legislature of the state, acting in the interests of the citizenry for whom they work, can take up the process - under the law - of removing him from office. The law is in place, use the law. In California, one of 20 states that allows for recall of the Governor (New York does not), the citizenry appear to have raised the requisite number of signatures to force a recall election of Governor Newsom.
They’re following the law. 
And that’s what should happen in New York. There has already been enough of a ruckus, and the Legislature, unless they’re sleeping the sleep of Rip Van Winkle, have more than enough notice from their bosses (the electorate) that they need to take a look at the Governor; the process is much like that of impeaching a president. And they need to follow the rules and, if they so vote, throw him out. And if their actions (whether to remove the Governor or not) don’t ameliorate the electorate, then the electorate needs to remember that and throw them out of office at the next election.
The point here is that orderly nations are good for our lives, law and order is what allows us all to function without having to “shoot and scoot” to get across the parking lot. Law and Order means I can leave the windows open on a warm day and not worry about whether Antifa or M19 or the Red Brigade or the Comanches are going to come marauding through the neighborhood. And Law and Order also means we follow the rules when we want to get rid of the Mayor or the Governor or the Speaker or the President. Law and Order is what keeps us civilized.
Governor Cuomo may have assaulted a half dozen women or more, but he remains innocent until proven guilty. He may have been responsible for the deaths of a host of elderly in his gross mismanagement and horrible leadership during the first few months of the Wuhan Virus crisis, but he again remains innocent until proven guilty. Nevertheless, there’s more than enough evidence to justify the New York State Legislature taking up its responsibilities to its bosses - the people of the state - and investigating the Governor and then acting on the results of that investigation.
And that goes for all of government.
Thursday President Biden noted: “We need to remember, the government isn’t some foreign force in a distant capital. No, it’s us, all of us, we the people.”
Well, yes, but… When people use the word “government” they normally mean the bureaucracy, the organisms created by the Constitution (and the constitutions of the several states) to which We the People delegate certain authorities in order to “…establish Justice and ensure domestic tranquility…” 
In that sense, We the People are not the government, We the People are the bosses of this sprawling arrangement of agencies and departments. And we expect them all to act within the law. And to enforce every law. Even if they don’t like a given law, enforce it. They can work to change the law - within the rule book. But they continue to enforce the laws as the good servants they are, who obey their bosses’ orders.
You know, Law and Order. Like the Infield Fly Rule. Or Immigration Laws. Or Election Laws. All that sort of thing.