November 12, 2002
HOOTIE AND THE BLOWHARDS:
Defiant Johnson says Masters will go on no matter what
(Associated Press, November 11, 2002)
Defiant as ever, Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson declared that The Masters will be played next year, no matter what, and there is no chance a woman will be a member of the golf club by then.
''We will prevail because we're right,'' the 71-year-old Johnson said. His comments were the first on the subject since he fueled the debate over the all-male membership at Augusta National by criticizing Martha Burk and the National Council of Women's Organizations for trying to coerce change. [...]
''We're a private club. And private organizations are good. The Boy Scouts. The Girl Scouts. Junior League. Sororities. Fraternities. Are these immoral?"
It's kind of chilling to see so many people who are so absolutist on First Amendment rights that they insist pornography and flag-burning are protected, so absolutist on the Second Amendment that they insist ballistic finger-printing is a violation, so absolutist on the--well, actually, there is no amendment--that they insist abortion is an absolute right, etc., who are all so willing to come down on the Boy Scouts, fraternities, and the Masters when they seek to determine for themselves who they'll associate with in private. One wonders why the Masters should be forced to allow women members but the LPGA shouldn't be forced to allow men to compete in their tournaments?
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 12, 2002 7:13 PM
The Civil Rights laws of the '60's, interpreted as anti-discrimination laws and applied to the private sector, overthrew the principle of freedom of association by making government officials (EEOC, judges) arbiters of who could form relationships with whom in the workplace. Given the sanctity of these laws to so many, you have to expect that for many anti-discrimination is going to trump freedom of association in other contexts too.
I think this is going to be the key political battleground of the next fifty years, and it's one reason the racial division in American politics isn't going away soon.
But that was only if you maintained your establishment as a public place (which still seems wrong), but in other words, if you had a restaurant open to the public you couldn't then exclude blacks. Private associations, even under those acts, were not covered.
Hootie isn't asking about his legal rights, but about what's immoral. His critics are asking the same thing.
Civil rights law is relevant because of the moral principle it embodies. The public accommodation line is arbitrary and based on no discernible moral principle.
The moral principle, the right of free association, is enshrined in the Constitution.
I got into an argument about public accomodation and anti-discrimination laws years back, which I finally reduced to an axiom that we had different views on. My axiom was "I own my business like I own my house". My opponent disagreed. But PJ is right - there's no logical reason to stop this form of "civil rights" before it determines who you can invite to your parties.
Masters and Johnson? O yeah, a sex case.
The term 'free association' doesn't appear in the Constitution, to my knowledge; usually lawyers say freedom of association is derived from First Amendment free speech and free assembly rights, but this isn't quite the same as full-blown freedom of association. An unfortunate oversight by James Madison, who did such a magnificent job.
AOG's view is precisely my own. Ultimately, the argument AOG had is going to be held in the public forum by candidates for office.
Yes, Freedom of Assembly
I would like to see a historical account of how the founders viewed the scope of 'the right of the people peaceably to assemble' . . . interesting that like the 2nd and 4th amendments this right is limited to 'the people,' i.e. adult citizens not convicted of crimes.
Orrin, I would love for freedom of association to be implied here, rather than for it to reside among the unenumerated rights (9th amendment). Please convince me.
A right of association probably is too broad, rather, one would argue that Congress is given no power to interfere in such purely private organizations.
An enumerated powers argument, in other words . . . That would allow states unlimited power to regulate private associations.
If they don't have constitutions.
States can change their constitutions . . . or state courts can reinterpret them. Remind me, doesn't NH's constitution now require the state rather than local government to pay for education?
No, our Court, like a couple others, invented out of whole cloth an obligation for every school child to receive an "equal" education.