Today it was announced that confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers will begin on November 7. Because Miers has never been a judge, an air of mystery surrounds her stance on numerous issues. As is the case with all high court nominees, senators will particularly scrutinize her philosophy regarding the hot-button topic in American society: the sports media’s east coast bias.
The emphasis on this issue is clear. Of all the 100 senators, the one scheduled to meet with Miers today is Republican Jim Bunning from Kentucky. Bunning was a Hall of Fame pitcher in the major leagues. Therefore, he knows how important the east coast bias subject is in comparison to trifling issues such as abortion and affirmative action. Miers stands a good chance of earning Bunning’s support, unless she cracks jokes about the horrendous collapse of his 1964 Phillies.
In the landmark 1958 case of O’Malley v. Brooklyn, the Supreme Court ruled that east coast bias was unconstitutional. Although the high court has not overturned this ruling, the debate has raged ever since. Supporters of the decision trumpet it as one that champions equality to athletes across the nation. Dissenters counter that New York teams are more important than anyone else and should always be the focus of the sports media’s attention. They also contend that many west coast games are played too late at night to be of interest.
Although this issue seems to leave little room for gray area, a moderate group has also emerged. These fans support east coast bias in general, but allow for heavy coverage of an occasional west coast powerhouse such as the USC football team. However, this group will seldom be heard from on cable news scream-fests.
One of the central points on the east coast bias issue is the original intent of the Founding Fathers. Supporters argue that the framers of the Constitution were firmly in favor of east coast bias. “The original 13 states were all on the east coast,” noted one advocate to this side. “So the Founding Fathers were definitely pro-east coast bias.” A detractor countered, “Most of our favorite sports hadn’t been invented in 1787. You’re an idiot.”
The retirement of Sandra Day O’Connor, an Arizona native and Stanford graduate, has brought anxiety to backers of the O’Malley decision. Miers is a Texas native who conceivably could go either way on the issue. On the one hand, she is a trusted adviser to President Bush, one-time owner of the American League West’s Texas Rangers. However, the Lone Star State’s marquee sports franchise, the Dallas Cowboys, play in the NFC East. The American public will demand to know where she stands.
In the coming weeks, Miers will face scrutiny like she has never encountered before. The confirmation hearings are sure to bring tremendous stress into her life. Perhaps a former Redskins star will advise her as he did to Justice O’Connor: “Loosen up, Harri baby. You’re too tight.”