In a recent article that appeared on Law News Network, an attorney argued (“A Good Walk Spoiled“) that of the two decisions involving disabled golfers seeking a cart to play in pro golf events, the decision of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals against golfer Ford Olinger was a better decision than the decision of the 9th Circuit for the golfer Casey Martin. To borrow a phrase from the judicial branch, I respectfully dissent.
With respect to the Olinger decision, one attorney has said that it was written with a great deal of reverence for the governing body of golf, the USGA. The decision appears to take at face value the assertions of the USGA that it’s rules are rules and should be left as they are, i.e. “whether the rules of the game should be adjusted to accommodate him is best left to those who hold the future of golf in trust” Olinger v. United States Golf Association , 2000 WL 257133, *7 (7th Cir.). On the other hand, the Martin court engaged in a much more individually based analysis. It has to be remembered that the ADA is an individually based act and so an individually based analysis is entirely appropriate. Thus, it bears exploring the Martin decision further.
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