Pennsylvania Dept

I’m working on a writing discussion question and need support to help me study.


I’m not aware of how many of you have heard of Casey Martin. In a nutshell, Martin was a terrific golfer who wanted to play on the PGA Tour. However, he had a debilitating condition that made it impossible to walk more than a few feet. To play on the tour, most golfers must excel on the lower level tours to qualify for the “big” tour that we see on TV. The problem is that the qualifying tours allow players to use golf carts to speed up play, but the PGA Tour requires players to walk the courses. Casey Martin was successful enough to earn a spot on the PGA Tour and asked to use a cart due to his disability. The PGA said no because the players are professional athletes, and walking is an essential part of the sport. Martin could not possibly play without a cart, so he sued the PGA under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The Supreme Court ruled for Martin.

What do you think about the decision?


1. Title III of the ADA, by its plain terms, prohibits petitioner from denying Martin equal access to its tours on the basis of his disability. Cf. Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections v. Yeskey, 524 U. S. 206, 209. That Title provides, as a general rule, that “[n]o individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of a disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the … privileges … of any place of public accommodation.” §12182(a). The phrase “public accommodation” is defined in terms of 12 extensive categories, §12181(7), which the legislative history indicates should be construed liberally to afford people with disabilities equal access to the wide variety of establishments available to the nondisabled. Given the general rule and the comprehensive definition of “public accommodation,” it is apparent that petitioner’s golf tours and their qualifying rounds fit comfortably within Title III’s coverage, and Martin within its protection. The events occur on “golf course[s],” a type of place specifically identified as a public accommodation. §12181(7)(L). And, at all relevant times, petitioner “leases” and “operates” golf courses to conduct its Q-School and tours. §12182(a). As a lessor and operator, petitioner must not discriminate against any “individual” in the “full and equal enjoyment of the … privileges” of those courses. Ibid. Among those “privileges” are competing in the Q-School and playing in the tours; indeed, the former is a privilege for which thousands of individuals from the general public pay, and the latter is one for which they vie. Martin is one of those individuals. The Court rejects petitioner’s argument that competing golfers are not members of the class protected by Title III–i.e., “clients or customers of the covered public accommodation,” §12182(b)(1)(A)(iv)–but are providers of the entertainment petitioner sells, so that their “job-related” discrimination claims may only be brought under Title I. Even if Title III’s protected class were so limited, it would be entirely appropriate to classify the golfers who pay petitioner $3,000 for the chance to compete in the Q-School and, if successful, in the subsequent tour events, as petitioner’s clients or customers. This conclusion is consistent with case law in the analogous context of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See, e.g., Daniel v. Paul, 395 U. S. 298, 306. Pp. 12-19.