The Supreme Court's decision last week in PGA Tour v. Martin, in which the high court ruled that the Tour must allow Casey Martin the use of a golf cart during tournaments, was merely the latest foray by the Washington Nine into the world of athletics. A sampling of Supreme sports rulings:
Federal Club v. National League, 1922. In a decision written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes that has shaped the landscape of the game to this day, the Court confers an antitrust exemption on the national pastime, arguing that baseball does not engage in interstate commerce. That opinion serves as precedent in the 1972 Flood v. Kuhn case, in which the Court rejects Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood's challenge to baseball's reserve clause.
Clay v. United States, 1971. The Court reverses Muhammad Ali's conviction for refusing military service. Justice William O. Douglas's concurring opinion deems Ali's objection to fighting in a war other than one sanctioned by the Koran "a matter of conscience protected by the First Amendment which Congress has no power to qualify or dilute."
Haywood v. National Basketball Association, 1971. Determining that 21-year-old Spencer Haywood's career would "suffer irreparable injury" if he were denied the right to play in the NBA, the Court overturns the league's ban on signing players who have been out of high school less than four years.
San Francisco Arts & Athletics v. USOC, 1987. Citing the "obvious ... possibility for confusion as to sponsorship," the Court rules that a California nonprofit group's Gay Olympic Games violates the USOC's exclusive American rights to use the word Olympic in promotional material.
NCAA v. Tarkanian, 1988. Jerry Tarkanian's 12-year legal battle ends when the Court rules that the NCAA, as a private institution and not a "state actor," has the right to recommend that UNLV suspend him for recruiting violations.
Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton, 1995. The Court dismisses the claim that drug testing of high school athletes violates privacy rights. Justice Antonin Scalia's opinion notes that "school sports are not for the bashful.... There is an element of 'communal undress' inherent in athletic participation."
Issue date: June 11, 2001
For more Scorecard see this week's issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands Wednesday, June 6. Click here to subscribe to SI.