American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review - Volume 56


Used by permission.


We live in an era of instant replay. Every sports fan, when witnessing a close play in a game, reflexively thinks, “I wonder what the replay will show?” And they can take comfort in the fact that the play will be showed in slow motion from multiple different vantage points as we all assess the correctness of the referee’s call. I recall watching the 2019 NCAA men’s basketball final (cheering on my law school alma mater, UVA), when a play near the end of the game occurred where a defender batted the ball out of bounds but the replay ultimately showed that it barely grazed the tip of the finger of the player dribbling the ball before it left the court. No human referee watching that play in real time would have ever noticed that, and it suggested this question to me—while the refs made the right call after the video review, at what cost? Do we now insist on absolute perfection in calls even when that requires superhuman abilities, and is it worth all the attendant delay in games and, frankly, in removing something for us to debate or talk about afterwards?1