Flood V. Kuhn

Flood v. Kuhn (407 U.S. 258) was a 1972 United States Supreme Court decision upholding, by a 5–3 margin, the antitrust exemption first granted to Major League Baseball (MLB) in Federal Baseball Club v. National League. It arose from a challenge by St. Louis Cardinals' outfielder Curt Flood when he refused to be traded to the Philadelphia Phillies after the 1969 season. He sought injunctive relief from the reserve clause, which prevented him from negotiating with another team for a year after his contract expired. Named as initial respondents were baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, MLB and all of its then-24 member clubs.

Although the Court ruled in baseball's favor 5-3, it admitted the original grounds for the antitrust exemption were tenuous at best, that baseball was indeed interstate commerce for purposes of the act and the exemption was an "anomaly" it had explicitly refused to extend to other professional sports or entertainment. That admission set in motion events which ultimately led to an arbitrator's ruling nullifying the reserve clause and opening the door for free agency in baseball and other sports.

The opinion has been criticized in several ways. It is seen by some as an overly strict and reflexive reliance on the legal doctrine of stare decisis that made an earlier mistake "uncorrectable". Even the text of the decision itself, mainly a seven-page introductory encomium to the game and its history by Justice Harry Blackmun that included a lengthy listing of baseball greats, came in for criticism. Some of the other justices, and Court observers, felt it was inappropriate for a judicial opinion. At the time of his later retirement and death, Blackmun would be remembered for it as much as Roe v. Wade.

Read more about Flood V. Kuhn:  Trial and Appeal, Before The Supreme Court, Decision, Reaction, Legacy, Legal Analysis and Criticism

Famous quotes containing the words flood and/or kuhn:

    Insurrection:... insurrection as soon as circumstances allow: insurrection, strenuous, ubiquitous: the insurrection of the masses: the holy war of the oppressed: the republic to make republicans: the people in action to initiate progress. Let the insurrection announce with its awful voice the decrees of God: let it clear and level the ground on which its own immortal structure shall be raised. Let it, like the Nile, flood all the country that it is destined to make fertile.
    Giuseppe Mazzini (1805–1872)

    By the year 2020, the year of perfect vision, the old will outnumber the young.
    —Maggie Kuhn (b. 1905)