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06/24/2008

Comments

bill hue

The Federal Court case law is pretty clear that the judge has no jurisdiction over IOC competition matters. However, the US track federation and USADA are not permitted under US federal law to discriminate against Americans With Disabilitities or any individual on the basis of race, sex or origin.

An interesting question in that regard is to slightly change the facts for a better understanding of what this judge is saying; Can the US track federation or USADA discriminate, say against a black person, because the "immune" international body (the US Courts have no jurisdiction over them) only allows white people to compete?

Back to the facts of this case; The Federal Judge believes Gaitlin was discriminated against because of his disability. The IOC will not allow a person with disability to be medicated in order to allow that person to have an equal opportunity to compete, deeming the alteration to give an unfair competative advantage. Temporary Restraining Orders only are granted when irrepairable rights are at issue and not when money or other relief can remedy the "wrong". The Judge initially felt the inability to compete was the irrepairable injury but if the Order isn't binding on the people who run the competition, then the judge has no ability to "remedy" it in a practical sense.

So, if the goal was to get a US judge to "order" a party not subject to the Courts jurisdiction to do something, it was doomed to failure.

Whether monetary damages will now cover the violation is an interesting byproduct.

Bill Hue

Bill Hue

The Judge also cites the Stevens Act, which divested Courts of authority or jurisdiction to act in matters concerning Olympic participation as the Act confers that power soley and exclusively upon the US OLympic committee. The Judge seemed very frustrated to have his hands tied in the matter, seeing a clear violation of a "disabled" person's rights but having no authoerity to remedy it. In matters concerning the Olympics, the athletes only recourse under the Rules adopted by the International Olympic Committe is to address issues to arbitration and ultimately to the CAS in Switzerland and perhaps the Swiss Courts, which would, under the circumstances here, probably lack personal jurisdiction.

So, USADA and the US Olympic Committe and Track Federation are free to violate US law, as long as the violations do do violate the WADA code. The WADA Code is not concerned with fairness or due process. It simply is concerned with anti-doping, seeming oblivious to concepts of discrimination or fairness. The Judge found that to be quite incredible.

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