Join 3,556 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Supreme Court gives golfer Casey Martin the keys to the cart.
May 29, 2001 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Supreme Court gives golfer Casey Martin the keys to the cart. Can a private organization be forced to allow something it says is against the spirit of the rules of it's competitions? Will we see Casey play anytime soon? Who else will benefit from this ruling in golf and other sports?
posted by msacheson (65 comments total)

 
I'm glad to see the Supreme Court acknowledge what any weekend duffer knows: Walking is not essential to the sport of golf. No commentator has ever complimented Tiger Woods or any other elite player on his excellent walking skills. No fan goes to a senior golf event and says, "Damn, it's a shame that Jack Nicklaus is riding a cart. I was hoping to see him play golf."

The PGA had numerous opportunities to recognize that the Casey Martin situation is exceptional and make allowances for him. It was incredibly short-sighted for them to appeal this all the way to the Supreme Court, creating future headaches for themselves and other sports.
posted by rcade at 8:20 AM on May 29, 2001


It's hard to believe there would be any dissent from the bench, but leave it to Thomas and Scalia to cry foul — those f@#king jerks. Let's see what stuffy old Supreme Court Justice cries out for some "benevolent compassion" when their old, decrepit asses wind up in a wheelchair.

Could be that they're just chop golfers and they can't stand the idea that a gimp could school them.
posted by bicyclingfool at 8:34 AM on May 29, 2001


I was surprised that Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was not one of the dissenters...she is known to be an avid and competent golfer. Conventional Wisdom had her siding with the PGA TOUR.

Anyway, I don't think we'll see Casey Martin playing on tour anytime soon, because he is not qualified to play. Only the best golfers play on the PGA TOUR, and Casey Martin is not one of the best golfers.
posted by msacheson at 8:51 AM on May 29, 2001


rcade: On the PGA tour, not walking is potentially an unfair advantage. Do you play golf? If so than you know the energy taken out of you when you walk all 18 holes. If not, then you'll just have to take my word for it. If Martin is riding a cart for 18 holes, that's fatigue he's not experiencing that other golfers are which could make the difference between winning and losing. It may be hair-splitting, but I still agree with the PGA on this one. To me its akin to the NBA making concessions for a guy who can't run but can shoot really well.
posted by srw12 at 8:53 AM on May 29, 2001


The golf is not the issue, the issue is whether or not private organizations have the right to set their own rules of conduct. In a free society, individuals or groups must have the right to set their own standards as no one is compelled to join an organization which has a set of rules or view with which that individual does not agree.

I'm upset that only two dissented.
posted by ljromanoff at 8:56 AM on May 29, 2001


On the PGA tour, not walking is potentially an unfair advantage.

Do you honestly believe that if Tiger Woods walked and the rest of the tour rode carts, he would have won fewer tournaments?

Walking is a disadvantage to weekend duffers who are in lousy shape. Pro golfers who do this every week of their lives are in great shape, and it's a joke to claim that walking matters.
posted by rcade at 9:11 AM on May 29, 2001


Normally I would agree with you, LJR, but in this case, the rule of law needs to mean something. If the law is ok in general, then it must be applied fairly and evenly to all sides and not exempt favored parties.
posted by norm at 9:12 AM on May 29, 2001


Normally I would agree with you, LJR, but in this case, the rule of law needs to mean something. If the law is ok in general, then it must be applied fairly and evenly to all sides and not exempt favored parties.

I suppose you're right. The real problem is not the Supreme Court, as they are accurately interpreting the ADA law as it is written. On the other hand, they might have been able to rule otherwise on Constitutional grounds making the argument that the ADA law is a violation of the freedom of association clause of the first amendment. I don't know, however, how broad a case this was, so I don't know if that was even an option.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:21 AM on May 29, 2001


Check this out: A pro golfer who wears glasses, correcting a physical ailment that would otherwise prevent him from competing.
posted by rcade at 9:28 AM on May 29, 2001


Check this out: A pro golfer who wears glasses, correcting a physical ailment that would otherwise prevent him from competing.

Glasses don't provide that guy with an otherwise unavailable advantage over his fellow golfers, unless they are some kind of binocular glasses that give him a better look down the course. It's not a valid comparison.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:38 AM on May 29, 2001


Do you honestly believe that if Tiger Woods walked and the rest of the tour rode carts, he would have won fewer tournaments?


No, but I do think that some of the lower ranking golfers would move up if they were allowed to ride in carts. It is conceivable that a guy like Martin could pass others in the rankings merely because he's riding. It is most certainly not a joke to suggest that walking matters. You're absolutely right, however, that it makes more of a difference to 'weekend duffers', but that's mostly because those who walk are also usually carrying their own clubs.

A pro golfer who wears glasses, correcting a physical ailment that would otherwise prevent him from competing.


don't be silly... that's completely different
posted by srw12 at 9:39 AM on May 29, 2001


If Martin is riding a cart for 18 holes, that's fatigue he's not experiencing that other golfers are which could make the difference between winning and losing.

The condition that keeps Martin from being able to walk 18 holes results in extreme fatigue just getting out of bed in the morning. To argue that he's somehow at an advantage to the other golfers is ludicrous. Now, an argument closer to ljromanoff's makes more sense. But there's no question that Martin is at a severe physical disadvantage to the others, even if he's riding in a cart.

The PGA should have implemented a system under which golfer's could apply for an exemption to the no-cart rule, in cases where they have sincere physical disabilities.
posted by jpoulos at 9:45 AM on May 29, 2001


"Golf: a good cart ride spoiled."

Doesn't really have the same ring, does it?
posted by holgate at 10:06 AM on May 29, 2001


Damn, I'll bet its harder to be proven wrong if you do more background checking...

Well, I guess my argument is moot in this case. I do think, though, that, if the PGA has decided that walking is a requirement, they should be allowed to keep it as such.
posted by srw12 at 10:19 AM on May 29, 2001


This just in!! Hot off the presses!

Christopher Reeve is the new quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens.
posted by suprfli at 10:25 AM on May 29, 2001


So many people missing the point: that no where does the constituion grant the federal government an ability to dictate to a private organization what the must or must not accept amongst their membership. Not that this hasn't happened before; that people accept it without comment is what bothers me.


That said, I think the PGA look like utter jerks over this whole thing.
posted by jammer at 12:11 PM on May 29, 2001


Is this merely a private organization, though? These guys aren't getting together for fun; it's their careers. If I want a job as a pro golfer, there's noplace else I can go.
posted by aaron at 12:27 PM on May 29, 2001


Is this merely a private organization, though? These guys aren't getting together for fun; it's their careers. If I want a job as a pro golfer, there's noplace else I can go.

It's still a private organization. Last time I checked the PGA was not an arm of the government.
posted by ljromanoff at 12:28 PM on May 29, 2001


Are pro golfers employed by the PGA, or is the PGA merely the organisation which oversees events which are used by freelance athletes to make a living?

Either way, I can't agree with the SC ruling. Even if the PGA employs the golfers, employers are only required to make reasonable modifications for employees under the ADA. When those employees are competing as the basic element of their jobs, it isn't reasonable to make a modification which gives anyone an advantage. The idea of the ADA is to level the playing field, not tilt it in the favour of the disabled.

The obvious next step of this ruling is for some National League pitcher with rusty knees to sue to force the NL to implement the Designated Hitter. Same argument, different outcome.
posted by Dreama at 12:43 PM on May 29, 2001


Professional sports, in my book, means a competition between able-bodied athletes. The PGA made walking between holes part of the rules. If you can't follow the rules, you shouldn't play the sport. I think the PGA did the right thing, despite my opinion that golf is an elitist sport, the courses squander valuable resources, and the players are all overpaid primadonnas.
posted by RylandDotNet at 12:48 PM on May 29, 2001


Dreama: good analogy. And the players on the PGA TOUR consider themselves independent contractors of sorts, not employees. If a player has a bad couple of rounds, he will go home with no prize money or reimbursement for his expenses incurred (such as travel and lodging). The PGA TOUR simply organizes each event and sets criteria for eligibility of competition.
posted by msacheson at 12:50 PM on May 29, 2001


So many people missing the point: that no where does the constituion grant the federal government an ability to dictate to a private organization what the must or must not accept amongst their membership. Not that this hasn't happened before; that people accept it without comment is what bothers me.

Yeah, it's a crying shame. If more people refused to accept it, the PGA could still have this as a membership requirement in its charter: "Professional golfers of the Caucasian race, over the age of eighteen years, residing in North or South America, and who have served at least five years in the profession (either in the capacity of a professional or in the employ of a professional as his assistant) shall be eligible for membership."
posted by rcade at 1:22 PM on May 29, 2001


Yeah, it's a crying shame. If more people refused to accept it, the PGA could still have this as a membership requirement in its charter: "Professional golfers of the Caucasian race, over the age of eighteen years, residing in North or South America, and who have served at least five years in the profession (either in the capacity of a professional or in the employ of a professional as his assistant) shall be eligible for membership."

Yes, freedom means the freedom to choose with whom you associate, even if your reasons are stupid. I'll take that over not being free to choose.

I would prefer that PGA had the right to be Caucasian only if that's what they wanted. Of course, they would be ignored by most everyone, but if that's what they wanted to be, that would be their business.
posted by ljromanoff at 1:40 PM on May 29, 2001


Yes rcade, except that's a charter requirement, and (unless I'm mistaken, and I could be) the "walking between holes" thing is a rule of the sport/tournement, just like how a baseball player is required to run around all the bases even if hit hits a homerun and his RBIs are assured. And if a Designated Hitter is unable to run all the way around the bases, he doesn't get to use a cart.

I was fully behind the SC on this one until I read a few of the above, well-reasoned arguments against it. Now I'm leaning the other way. The DH example (the one above, not my own) is the best rebuttal I've heard yet.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 1:52 PM on May 29, 2001


Even if the PGA employs the golfers, employers are only required to make reasonable modifications for employees under the ADA
The interpretation of “reasonable” here is not equivalent to an uninformed layperson’s opinion of what the word means. Employers are required to provide accommodation short of undue hardship or burden, which has a specific meaning that boils down to (a) would fundamentally alter the nature of the enterprise (e.g., blind people can't become cabdrivers) and/or (b) would cost so much as to threaten the livelihood of the enterprise (not the case when providing a golf cart in a multi-million-dollar pro tour).

I would encourage cautious reading of disability law.
posted by joeclark at 2:31 PM on May 29, 2001


rcade, I do feel that the PGA is being unfair in this matter. However, part of what makes living in a free society so difficult sometimes is realizing that individuals have a right to like or dislike anyone they choose, no matter how much you find their beliefs reprehensible.


To attempt to force the PGA to act against their will in this would be no better or worse than forcing a homosexual support group to allow straights into their membership, a Catholic church to accept satanists, or, yes, a KKK rally to accept blacks in the audience. I am no fan of the KKK, and I *will* damn any violence done in their name, but they are still free to meet and associate with those whom they please.
posted by jammer at 3:26 PM on May 29, 2001


I'm still waiting for the "Happy Gilmore" of the PGA to appear.
Two things. First, if I remember correctly Rodney Dangerfield had a golfing club that automatically sank the put. Just as certain clubs and devices are not allowed according to the rules, I think the SC forced the PGA to adapt the law incorrectly. If the rules weren't in place, what's to say poor golfers wouldn't develop "the ultimate weapon" on the golf course or resort to the Miller Lite commercials of full contact sport or where audience noise matters at crunch time. Second, Jim Abbott's performance in baseball did not require that the mound be raised or the distance from home plate decreased. He went out and competed with what he was given and won. Why can't Casey Martin do the same?
posted by brent at 4:09 PM on May 29, 2001


However, part of what makes living in a free society so difficult sometimes is realizing that individuals have a right to like or dislike anyone they choose, no matter how much you find their beliefs reprehensible.

This isn't about individuals -- it's about the government continuing a long practice of preventing discrimination. The PGA took its whites-only policy out of the charter in the '60s because the California attorney general was threatening to ban them from holding tournaments at public courses. I don't think the prohibition against Martin is any more reasonable today than the prohibition against African-American golfers was in 1961.
posted by rcade at 4:46 PM on May 29, 2001


I've met (and played basketball with) Casey Martin. He has a legitimate complaint, in that his injury causes extreme pain when he is walking for a long period of time. However, I disagree with the Supreme Court ruling. Like many above said, a private organization can set whatever rules they want.

Personally, I think racism and the many otherisms in a group *should* be allowed, although I wouldn't, and I don't think many other would, support an organization that did such a thing. It's a critical part of a free society.
posted by Kevs at 4:55 PM on May 29, 2001


If an organization is a business — if it exists to make cash as the PGA Tour definitly is — then it must operate under rules that lets everyone be self-sufficient. Just because some people have a strong affinity toward the sanctity of a sport doesn’t mean that a business that capitalizes on it has the right to discriminate against people who want to make a living.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 5:10 PM on May 29, 2001



Hm. I'm of mixed feeling on this- on the one hand, supporting both the notion of a private organization such as the PGA to set its own rules (including, as ugly as it was, a whites-only rule) and the idea that the PGA is large enough and public enough to be governed by the ADA, and that the principle behind the ADA is that people shouldn't be barred from their pursuit of happiness for characteristics or disabilities that don't affect their pursuit (such as not hiring a computer programmer simply because they are in a wheelchair). The question here is whether Casey's cart-riding is any different than for example the referenced corrective lens wearing golfer.


Partly, I find myself in the unusual position of somewhat agreeing with the likes of rcade and ljromanoff, that it gets awkward having the [thoroughly disreputable] SC in the position of deciding what is and is not a critical part of the game of golf.


Then again, the cart doesn't confer an unusual advantage, or corrects a disadvantage that puts him (pardon the horrible pun) on par with other golfers- unlike special oversized drivers or custom-made golfballs, that confer unfair advantage or alter the nature of the game. Using a cart instead of walking doesn't assist his putting or driving or chipping game, or strategy- it just gets him down the course where others would use their legs. The point that any pro golfer worth his salt should be able to handle an 18-hole walk with minimal exertion is true.


An excellent question now is whether any golfer should have to walk, or should be allowed to use the cart. The SC suggested that this ruling was so narrow as to potentially apply only to Casey Martin, but they also ruled that walking wasn't an integral part of the game, so why shouldn't everyone ride a cart? And doesn't Jack Nicklaus use a cart, anyway, as someone noted?


Still, I think a better compromise could have been reached- namely, disallow the use of the cart, but allow the use of a wheelchair. This might have alleviated some of the difficulties Martin encountered while still forcing him to exert physical effort similar to the players who walk the whole course.


Kind of a complex question, really...
posted by hincandenza at 5:33 PM on May 29, 2001



This isn't about individuals -- it's about the government continuing a long practice of preventing discrimination. The PGA took its whites-only policy out of the charter in the '60s because the California attorney general was threatening to ban them from holding tournaments at public courses. I don't think the prohibition against Martin is any more reasonable today than the prohibition against African-American golfers was in 1961.

The two are completely different. Being black doesn't affect one's golf skill, but being nearly unable to walk does.

And as to the first item you mentioned, the government trampling individual rights in the name of "preventing discrimination" is the underlying issue behind all of this.
posted by ljromanoff at 5:51 PM on May 29, 2001


Simple question: if Casey Martin wants to play golf on a professional level but isn't allowed in the PGA because of a disability, where is he to go?
posted by hijinx at 6:02 PM on May 29, 2001


The two are completely different. Being black doesn't affect one's golf skill, but being nearly unable to walk does.

The point I'm responding to is the notion that "no where does the constituion grant the federal government an ability to dictate to a private organization what they must or must not accept amongst their membership."

That's clearly not the case, or the PGA would still be free to exclude African-American members.
posted by rcade at 6:27 PM on May 29, 2001


The point I'm responding to is the notion that "no where does the constituion grant the federal government an ability to dictate to a private organization what they must or must not accept amongst their membership."

That's clearly not the case, or the PGA would still be free to exclude African-American members.


Either that, or the law is unconstitutional - which was my point.
posted by ljromanoff at 7:32 PM on May 29, 2001


Simple question: if Casey Martin wants to play golf on a professional level but isn't allowed in the PGA because of a disability, where is he to go?

No one said he wasn't allowed into the PGA. They only want him to abide by the same rules of the sport that everyone else plays by.
posted by ljromanoff at 7:35 PM on May 29, 2001


I call that a hypothetical question.
posted by hijinx at 7:51 PM on May 29, 2001


And doesn't Jack Nicklaus use a cart, anyway, as someone noted?

The PGA allows carts on the senior tour.
posted by fried at 8:10 PM on May 29, 2001


Following the logic of some of the arguments put forth against the Supreme Court's decision:
Should the ADA be around at all?
If capitalism really works the way (some) economists say it does, then a programmer who is in a wheel chair could be discriminated against by some companies, but others would realize that he could still do the job just as well and would make the necessary alterations to their facilities. The market would continue to provide everyone a wage equal to their output.
What is missing in this equation? why are such laws necessary?
posted by jackstark at 8:48 PM on May 29, 2001


Playing sports at the professional level is not, and shouldn't be, a guaranteed, basic right. I can't believe I would side with the PGA on this (and I think our reasons are different). That might be what he wants to do, but that doesn't mean he's entitled to do it. Guess what, folks - life ain't fair. Are we going to take everyone to court for everything now?
posted by binkin at 10:26 PM on May 29, 2001


If a sport is an athletic activity, golf is a non-sport. Old fat guys play it, which is why it's such a popular game among business types. People who cannot run play it. People who cannot touch or even see their toes play it. Heavy smokers and drinkers play it. There's a "senior" league for wheezers who won't retire. Golfers employ other guys to carry their bags. So why not let a guy with bad legs drive a funny little clown car from hole to hole? The PGA should be happy to let him play if he helps them make money, which is why the PGA exists.

It's just a question of whether the courts should be able to change the rules of a game. No, not unless they should also be able to make chess easier for dumb guys and lower the baskets to help undersized basketball players.

It's a short drive from the club house to the monkey house.
posted by pracowity at 2:40 AM on May 30, 2001


If capitalism really works the way (some) economists say it does, then a programmer who is in a wheel chair could be discriminated against by some companies, but others would realize that he could still do the job just as well and would make the necessary alterations to their facilities. The market would continue to provide everyone a wage equal to their output.
What is missing in this equation? why are such laws necessary?


You've got it right. These laws aren't necessary but laws, for the most part, are not passed due to necessity but due to pandering of politicians for votes from one special interest or another.
posted by ljromanoff at 5:49 AM on May 30, 2001


Playing sports at the professional level is not, and shouldn't be, a guaranteed, basic right. I can't believe I would side with the PGA on this (and I think our reasons are different). That might be what he wants to do, but that doesn't mean he's entitled to do it. Guess what, folks - life ain't fair. Are we going to take everyone to court for everything now?

Who knows - the PGA might have agreed ultimately to giving the guy the cart but instead of try to come to some sort of agreement with the PGA he went and hired lawyers instead.
posted by ljromanoff at 5:51 AM on May 30, 2001


Who knows - the PGA might have agreed ultimately to giving the guy the cart but instead of try to come to some sort of agreement with the PGA he went and hired lawyers instead.

That's not accurate. The PGA rejected all efforts by Martin to reach an agreement to let him ride, even after his first court victory.

As for anti-discrimination laws being unnecessary, you must be living in a different United States than the one I'm in. Without federal action, we'd still be drinking from separate fountains down here in Florida.
posted by rcade at 6:11 AM on May 30, 2001


The level of competition on the PGA Tour is nothing like the golf that you and I play at the local muni. Walking is an integral part of the game and, believe it or not, it does have an effect on each and every player. These guys are walking at least 5 miles each day, and many of those days are 90-plus degrees with high humidity. It's certainly not as tiring as playing a 2-hour tennis match in similar conditions, but it does take a toll on each and every player.

If the Tour allows Casey to use a cart, what's next? Craig Stadler is a big guy — 5'10" and 220 pounds — think he has as much stamina as Tiger or Sergio? Think his condition is deserving of a cart? How about fair-skinned Brad Faxon? A full day in the sun probably does a number on his stamina. Let's give him a cart!

Here's another analogy, from baseball. Let's say Casey was the greatest hitter ever but he couldn't run the bases. Would the Supreme Court alter the rules of Major League Baseball to give Casey a designated runner to navigate the bases? I really doubt it. But baserunning is just as essential to professional baseball as walking is to professional golf. The Supreme Court crossed the line with their decision.
posted by dayvin at 6:33 AM on May 30, 2001


That's not accurate. The PGA rejected all efforts by Martin to reach an agreement to let him ride, even after his first court victory.

What I'm saying is that had Martin not brought this to the courts, he and the PGA may have resolved this anyway. Since Martin did sue, we'll never know.

As for anti-discrimination laws being unnecessary, you must be living in a different United States than the one I'm in. Without federal action, we'd still be drinking from separate fountains down here in Florida.

I highly doubt that. In any event, if said drinking fountains were public facilities (i.e., government owned) then all citizens would have a right to use them. If they were privately owned, then the owner could set up any arrangement he liked.
posted by ljromanoff at 7:33 AM on May 30, 2001


What I'm saying is that had Martin not brought this to the courts, he and the PGA may have resolved this anyway.

There's absolutely no reason to believe that. The PGA rejected his initial request and never backed down from that. Martin was always willing to settle this outside of court, but the PGA never budged. They're the reason this got to the Supreme Court.
posted by rcade at 7:46 AM on May 30, 2001


There's absolutely no reason to believe that. The PGA rejected his initial request and never backed down from that. Martin was always willing to settle this outside of court, but the PGA never budged. They're the reason this got to the Supreme Court.

Well, whatever. If he was always willing to settle this out of court, he never would have gone to court.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:09 AM on May 30, 2001


Joe Clark suggested judicious reading of the ADA and said: Employers are required to provide accommodation short of undue hardship or burden, which has a specific meaning that boils down to (a) would fundamentally alter the nature of the enterprise.

And therein is the entirety of the argument (from my non-layperson vantage point, Mr. Clark) -- does providing a cart to one player and not others fundamentally alter the nature of the enterprise? The PGA would argue that it certainly does. They would know -- they've set the rules and regulations which govern their enterprise. The Supreme Court, with at least four duffers in their numbers, disagrees with that position. This ruling basically says that the PGA does not have the right to enforce its own rules despite compelling argument as to the necessity of those rules.

In the end, whether Casey Martin rides a cart, a rickshaw or a brahma bull isn't that big a deal. But by virtue of this ruling, the door has been opened to all manner of similar cases which may deeply alter the face of pro sports as we know it, and that's a shame.

The fact is, not everything needs to be available to all people, and some people -- like Mr. Martin -- need to stop thinking solely from their own self-focused perspective and start thinking about the overall ramifications of their actions.
posted by Dreama at 10:09 AM on May 30, 2001


I don't know which is saddest - that Scalia said that the court isn't required to apply "benevolent compassion", that anyone is so unaware of disabilities as to question why ADA laws are needed, or that Dreama thinks Mr. Martin is being selfish!

It's easy to say that not everything needs to be available to all people, until you get left out - whether it's because there is no ramp to get into the restraunt with your friends, or being prevented from working toward your goals.

Take a ride for a day in a wheelchair, and see for yourself what it's like. It will only be a taste of what it's really like day in and day out, but go into stores and you'll see how people look at you, clerks either ignore you or won't make eye contact, the physical barriers are daunting and sometimes humiliating, oh, and don't forget to make a trip to the bathroom.

Time for a reality check, folks - discrimination is alive and well toward the disabled.
posted by ilanah at 11:37 AM on May 31, 2001


If he was always willing to settle this out of court, he never would have gone to court.

That doesn't make sense, ljromanoff. You're really piling on the guy when you try to make this an example of a frivolous tort and a situation Martin should be blamed for pursuing. He didn't want to make legal history. He wanted to play the sport based on his belief that golf is still golf when players ride carts.

Those of you who feel that golf isn't golf any more when carts are involved can exercise your belief the next time you hit the links. Martin, most members of the Senior Tour and I will be riding, though.

The Supreme Court vote should be all the proof you need that he was justified in pursuing his argument. If there's blame to be assigned for creating a new legal precedent, blame the PGA.
posted by rcade at 11:56 AM on May 31, 2001


If he was always willing to settle this out of court, he never would have gone to court.

That doesn't make sense, ljromanoff. You're really piling on the guy when you try to make this an example of a frivolous tort and a situation Martin should be blamed for pursuing. He didn't want to make legal history. He wanted to play the sport based on his belief that golf is still golf when players ride carts.


I wouldn't call it frivolous at all. Changing the rules of the sport he claims to care about via lawsuit isn't frivolous, it's offensive.

The Supreme Court vote should be all the proof you need that he was justified in pursuing his argument.

The Supreme Court is not above reproach, and their ruling doesn't automatically validate Martin's argument. I doubt very much you would say this about every SC decision.
posted by ljromanoff at 1:55 PM on May 31, 2001


I wouldn't say that about the Supreme Court at all. But if someone wins a Supreme Court case, I think it borders on imbecilic to criticize that person for hiring a lawyer.
posted by rcade at 8:37 AM on June 1, 2001


I don't know which is saddest - that Scalia said that the court isn't required to apply "benevolent compassion", that anyone is so unaware of disabilities as to question why ADA laws are needed, or that Dreama thinks Mr. Martin is being selfish!

It's easy to say that not everything needs to be available to all people, until you get left out - whether it's because there is no ramp to get into the restraunt with your friends, or being prevented from working toward your goals.


We're not talking about accessibility to public places. We're not talking about not accomodating someone's desire to engage in activities which are open to the general public and have no relation to their physical condition.

This is not a company which will not hire a hearing impaired accountant because they don't think that they will be able to communicate with their co-workers. This isn't the case of a court reporter who can't get a job (despite meeting speed requirements) because she only has one hand. This is not a restaurant oddly built so that it is impossible to sit at a normal height table without going up steps. (Applebees, anybody?!) This isn't a college which denies someone who walks on cuffed crutches the opportunity to partake in chemistry labs due to "safety concerns."

This is about a disabled person who has sued to gain the "right" to partake in an activity that is centered upon physical ability without regard to the ramifications that his "victory" might bring about for anyone but himself. Casey Martin won, despite the very legitimate objections of how many people who have an integral position within the golfing community? And does Martin care? No, he wants to play, and screw everyone who thinks that what he needs in order to do so is too much.

I'd like to play at Wimbledon. But my disability would require that I be given extra breaks in the middle of games and sets in order to catch my breath. Maybe I should hobble out to my handicapped plated car, drive down to my lawyer's office, and talk about my lawsuit.
posted by Dreama at 10:49 AM on June 1, 2001


If you can prove that's the only thing keeping you out of Wimbledon, you should call a lawyer. However, Martin's a unique case that may never come up again -- a world-class athlete whose disability affects him in a way that's largely irrelevant to the sport he plays.

Carts are allowed up and down professional golf and throughout amateur golf. I fail to see the inherent danger in allowing one for a player who risks a broken leg every time he steps into a bunker. If he has an advantage now, I haven't seen a single golfer who would trade places with him. Wonder why.
posted by rcade at 8:58 AM on June 4, 2001


If you can prove that's the only thing keeping you out of Wimbledon, you should call a lawyer. However, Martin's a unique case that may never come up again -- a world-class athlete whose disability affects him in a way that's largely irrelevant to the sport he plays.

Ultimately, it is the PGA's call whether or not walking is relevant to the sport he plays, and they made their decision. If Martin can't perform a part of the sport that they consider relevant, then he's not a 'world-class' athlete.
posted by ljromanoff at 10:55 AM on June 4, 2001


If the PGA had banned carts consistently, instead of restricting them only at one level (and inconsistently even there), they might have won. But they're not the ultimate authority, as much as you may pretend otherwise, or Martin wouldn't be allowed to compete.

Personally, I think it's extremely sorry to see someone go to such lengths to defend prejudice. You would probably have made the same arguments in 1960 against blacks being world-class golfers.
posted by rcade at 11:57 AM on June 4, 2001


Yes, absolutely rcade, because we all know that there is something inate in blackness which prevents someone from playing golf according to the rules.
posted by Dreama at 12:05 PM on June 4, 2001


Until the early '60s, according to the PGA rules, there was something innate in blackness that prevented them from playing golf.

Ljromanoff said earlier in the thread that "I would prefer that PGA had the right to be Caucasian only if that's what they wanted." If the PGA has the right to define what a "world-class golfer" is, as he also claims now, then by extension there were no world-class African-American golfers until the federal government intervened.

In his libertarian world, prejudice is cured by the free market, which would be a neat trick considering how the American free market was happily trafficking in slaves 150 years ago. In mine, without the federal government's activism in the civil rights era, racism would still be institutional and pervasive in this country.

A bar here in Peary, Florida, just lost its liquor license because they forced African-Americans to drink in a storeroom in the back for many years. In his world, that's unconstitutional. In mine, that's justice.

And now there's a world-class disabled golfer in an era when pro sports tinker with their rules and equipment constantly, usually to be more TV friendly. I look forward to more of your nightmare scenarios in which this will lead to things like the adoption of the designated hitter and extended timeouts, Dreama. Imagine the horror!
posted by rcade at 5:24 AM on June 5, 2001


If the PGA has the right to define what a "world-class golfer" is, as he also claims now, then by extension there were no world-class African-American golfers

The PGA has the right to define the membership qualifications of their organization, period, whether they are an objective criteria (i.e., ability to play the sport - which disqualifies Casey Martin), or subjective criteria (such as skin color.) This is what freedom of association means. If those disenfranchised by the PGA wish to start their own organization with their own criteria, they are free to do so. This is how 'freedom of association' works.
posted by ljromanoff at 6:06 AM on June 5, 2001


Like I said, in your U.S. prejudice is constitutional. That seems like an odd place for any American to draw a line in the sand, but there's a reason libertarianism is relegated to the fringes of American politics.

If anyone wants to start a whites-only golf association, they should avoid each of the following: The PGA does all of these, and your hypothetical whites-only tour has around 35 years of case law against it being a private club that can freely discriminate.
posted by rcade at 6:45 AM on June 5, 2001


Like I said, in your U.S. prejudice is constitutional. That seems like an odd place for any American to draw a line in the sand, but there's a reason libertarianism is relegated to the fringes of American politics.

Libertarianism isn't on the fringe of American politics, and I'm not defending prejudice, I'm defending freedom - something you apparently value little.

If anyone wants to start a whites-only golf association, they should avoid each of the following:

Allowing any member of the public to participate in a qualifying tournament for membership, as long as they submit two letters of recommendation and pay $3,000


Well, obviously since they do this the PGA doesn't want to be whites-only. What the hell is your point?

Operating a commercial enterprise in the entertainment industry with the purpose of deriving economic benefit for its members

Irrelevant.

Opening tournaments to the public

As members or spectators? Again, what's your point?

Holding tournaments on public courses in which only its members can compete

There should be no such thing as a 'public' golf course. If, however, you're on a public (i.e., govt. owned) course then the govt. has the right to say what's done on its course.


The PGA does all of these, and your hypothetical whites-only tour has around 35 years of case law against it being a private club that can freely discriminate.

So you're telling me that the last 35 years of law has put new limits on our liberty? Gee, thanks for making me aware of that. I had no idea.
posted by ljromanoff at 7:46 AM on June 5, 2001


I'm just pointing out where those wacky liberal activists like William Rehnquist and Sandra Day O'Connor have prioritized the right of free association compared to discrimination.

As for libertarians being in the mainstream, there are more socialists holding national public office than libertarians. When you've been actively campaigning for decades and your top office holder is a state senator in Vermont, it's time to start cleaning up, because the party's over.
posted by rcade at 10:26 AM on June 5, 2001


As for libertarians being in the mainstream, there are more socialists holding national public office than libertarians. When you've been actively campaigning for decades and your top office holder is a state senator in Vermont, it's time to start cleaning up, because the party's over.

1.) It's NH, not Vermont.

2.) You're confusing the Libertarian Party and libertarianism. They're not the same thing.
posted by ljromanoff at 11:37 AM on June 5, 2001


I was referring to Gary Richardson on this list (who is actually a state rep, rather than a senator). I'm not sure where you're seeing small-L libertarianism in American government, but it ain't in the party that perfected the practice of corporate welfare (and I already know what you think of the Democrats).
posted by rcade at 3:24 PM on June 5, 2001


« Older Another way to save energy:...  |  Seasonals: ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments