That was a major factor in the Supreme Court's recent opinion in (BEGIN ITALS)PGA Tour v. Casey Martin(END ITALS). The court found that walking was not "fundamental" to the game of golf, which turned in part on the answer to the above question. (For constitutional scholars, the answer is: (B) a Big Mac.)
But the central point of the court's opinion is this: Its arrogance knows no bounds. The Supreme Court has now presumed to tell the PGA, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer what is "essential" to the game of golf.
Among the many "wrong turns" -- as the magnificent Antonin Scalia put it -- the court took on its way to total hegemony over recreational activity in America, it interpreted the Americans With Disabilities Act to apply to pro golfers. Taking an unconstitutional law to all-new unconstitutional levels, it found the PGA Tour is a "public accommodation" and Casey Martin is a "customer." Playing in the PGA is just like buying an ice cream cone.
Justice Anthony Kennedy has described the ADA as "a milestone on the path to a more decent, tolerant, progressive society" -- which tells you about all you need to know. Also a milestone on the path to a less free society. However indecent, intolerant and regressive the PGA's rules were before our philosopher kings barged in, they did not allow federal bureaucrats to dictate to private associations.
But the ADA hook was just absurd jurisdiction-grabbing. The court might as well have purported to be interpreting the ABM Treaty. After (BEGIN ITALS)Martin(END ITALS), it is difficult to conceive of any petty dispute that seven justices of the Supreme Court will deem themselves unqualified to resolve. Mommy sent you to bed without dinner? Take it to the Supreme Court!
I keep hearing what a wonderful fellow Casey Martin is. I'm evidently supposed to change my mind about a tyrannical decision if only I know the real man behind the oppression. He suffers from a disability, has a warm personality, is kind to animals and makes his own clothes! (No wait -- that's how my brother claims Mother used to describe his prospective blind dates.) Fine. Maybe Martin is all that and more. Unlike Hollywood movies, in real life, bad people usually aren't evil incarnate.
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