Whatever his other virtues, however, Martin did warm to the idea of taking freedom from his fellow Americans. He thought it was appropriate to ask the Supreme Court to intervene in his dispute with a private organization and rewrite the organization's rules. On account of their own disabilities -- a severe incapacity for rational self-perception -- seven Supreme Court justices took the bait.
Last December, The New York Times was worrying itself sick about the court losing its hard-earned "prestige" after (BEGIN ITALS)Bush v. Gore(END ITALS). But the PGA case, it nonchalantly put on the sports pages. (Both Justice John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O'Connor have hit holes in one, the Times earnestly reported.)
This is a sports story like the Japanese internment was a story about new home-building in Idaho. The Times would put that in the Home section. In a nice touch, Justice "THIS DAY WILL LIVE IN INFAMY!" Stevens wrote the opinion in the golf case. He must have gotten over that concern about the prestige of the judiciary expressed with sound-bite perfection in (BEGIN ITALS)Bush(END ITALS).
It now seems preposterous that anyone ever thought the Supreme Court would not decide the election case. The least that can be said for the court's ruling in (BEGIN ITALS)Bush(END ITALS) is that it was interpreting real constitutional provisions about a federal election. This court will tell the PGA the rules of golf.
It only adds insult to injury that the court's decision in this case is hated by golfers everywhere. In its unerring capacity to create angry factional mobs from an otherwise peaceful populace, there is widespread loathing of the court's substantive ruling. Had the PGA changed the rule on its own, there might have been sotto voce griping. It takes a Supreme Court ruling to really tick off the whole country.
The Martin decision is a case study of why our judges go bad and theirs never do. To quote Justice Scalia in another case, "This is why Lord Acton did not say, 'Power tends to purify.'" The only difference between the Martin case and (BEGIN ITALS)Roe v. Wade(END ITALS) is the slaughter. Abortion, rules of golf -- whatever. Anyone's snit can now be decided by the Supreme Court. Our "evolving Constitution" has evolved from a constitution to abortion trimesters to the "fundamentals" of golf.