Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Who Says Justice Doesn't have a Sense of Humor?

Or, who knows what you’ll learn when you are surfin’ the net - -

The Jockey Club is a private organization designated by Kentucky to track and approve names of race horses. (who'd a thought?) Without an approved name, a horse cannot race at a Kentucky track. When horse owner, Garrett Redmond wanted to name 4-year-old horse after "Sally Hemings", Thomas Jefferson's most famous slave and reputed lover – the Jockey Club (rightfully) said, “NO!” Their bylaws forbid horse owners from using names of famous or notorious people without special permission and the club's rules also say that "names considered in poor taste; or names that may be offensive to religious, political or ethnic groups" won't be approved.

So, following the path of common day actions, Mr. Redmond sued the Jockey Club, saying the denial had deprived him of constitutional rights. (OK, and what constitutional right would that be?)

Judge Alice Batchelder, writing for the three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, said Redmond has other options that may be approved by the Jockey Club, "To be sure, the First Amendment protects horse owners' rights to free speech, and we do not foreclose Mr. Redmond indiscriminately from asserting that right, but the right to free speech is not absolute in all contexts,"

Batchelder went on to write that because the Jockey Club is a private organization with power delegated by the state, it may restrict free speech so long as it doesn't discriminate against a specific viewpoint. (Go Alice!)

She also quoted Shakespeare's "What's in a name?" and cited the band America in rejecting Redmond's appeal. "In short, because he has spent three years insisting he has a constitutional right to name his horse 'Sally Hemings' and that no other name will do, Mr. Redmond now finds himself, like the songster of the 70s, having 'been through the desert on a horse with no name”. However, if he really wants to race or breed this horse in Kentucky, Mr. Redmond will have to come up with a name that complies with the Jockey Club's rules, Batchelder wrote. "A quick look at the Jockey Club's Registry confirms that 'Horse With No Name' is no longer available."
For the full article from Fox Sports Interactive Media, click here.

1 comment:

Kathy L. said...

Well, that's horse people...I know 'cause I used to be one. :) You would think this guy would buy a vowel and get a clue.