Business Edge for Wednesday May 2 2001

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WAITING FOR THE SUPREMES: The rumors started shortly before the Masters. Expect the Supreme Court of the United States to hand down its decision in PGA Tour Inc. v. Martin soon. Real soon. One noted golf course architect, a friend of one of the justices, assured me earnestly that we would see a decision soon.
 
Well, here we are nearly a month past the Masters, and nothing yet. Which doesnt surprise me. But the persistence of Beltway rumors does.
 
That golf course architects famous friend has probably told him what we all learned in law school: The Supreme Court simply does not discuss pending cases. They never, but never, reveal a decision date. In certain kinds of cases, pre-knowledge of a decision date could decimate financial markets. Big deals could turn on anticipated results. Fortunes could be made, lost, or stolen.
 
Not that the decision in the Casey Martin case will have that kind of effect. But the nine justices of the Supreme Court try to treat every case fairly. As far as possible, each matter is handled the same as every other matter, at least administratively.
 
Many people dont trust government these days, and it is conceivable that a justice or a clerk could let a date slip. But no one Ive spoken with can cite such an ironclad source. There may be a lot of wishful thinking out there.
 
Still, the office of Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) says it expects the decision May 14, and this calendar nugget is based on the knowledge of the offices disability law expert.
 
Well see. Here at Golf Central, were on alert every day, just in case.
 
People are beginning to ask me some thought-provoking questions, issues I know no more about than you all do, but which are important to consider. If Martin wins, how will the Tour behave? How much longer can Martin play, considering the condition of his leg? Which other players, if any, would try to take advantage of the change in the Tours rules? What kind of medical review procedure would the Tour set up? Will the game change in the way the Tour and some of its witnesses feared?
 
If the Tour wins, how will it handle the public relations fallout in the face of almost certain public support for Martin? Will it make a one-time exception for Martin? (The Tour has intimated it would not.)
 
Stay tuned to this space and to Golf Central for complete coverage.
 
Full Coverage of the PGA Tour Inc. v. Martin