By Marty Russell
This weekend marks the return of the Harvest Moon, the full moon nearest to the fall equinox which occurred last week. As we talked about in a recent column, the ancients named a full moon for each of the four seasons and, when they got to fall and were debating what to call that season’s moon, someone suggested that, in a couple of thousand years, Neil Young and the vaudeville team of husband and wife composers Jack Norworth and Nora Bates would need something to write about so they called it the Harvest Moon. That’s not true, of course. The ancients were Beatles fans.
But the return of the Harvest Moon means that summer is officially over and it’s time to go back to work. Which is why, I believe, the U.S. Supreme Court never starts hearing cases until the first Monday in October as it will beginning next Monday. Apparently the justices need to take the summer (and spring and most of the winter) off to rest up and prepare for the rigors of the heavy weight that rests on their shoulders. Maybe we should get them some lighter robes.
The court didn’t always meet for just one term a year beginning in October. Originally it met twice a year beginning in February and August and then that got changed to January and December and then that got changed to just one term beginning in February and then one day while sitting around in their robes the justices decided, heck, I don’t have anything planned for October, let’s meet then.
And so it is that, today, the court meets for just one term a year beginning the first Monday in October. In the off-season, the justices decide which cases they will hear when they convene. There are some interesting cases on this year’s docket but, since the nation’s highest court generally only hears cases that involve the constitutionality of something, chances are the court won’t be taking up a challenge to the call in Monday night’s football game.
In case you missed it, the Seahawks threw a Hail Mary pass on the last play of the game and one Green Bay defender and one offensive player both appeared to come down with the ball. The replacement refs made conflicting calls, one calling a touchdown, one calling an interception and one calling his attorney. In the end, it was ruled a touchdown and Seattle won the game.
Now while some people, notably in Wisconsin, might argue that that was a violation of the U.S. Constitution, it’s highly unlikely that the Supreme Court will take it up this term. That’s because it wants to keep its docket as clear as possible. This is, after all, an election year and even though the football decision was the equivalent of a hanging chad and a muffed call, who knows what those crazy Floridians will pull this year.
Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.