Passenger Rights and the Flight Crew’s Prerogative

A UC Berkeley student was recently removed from a Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Oakland. Khairuldeen Makhzoomi was on his cell phone, speaking to his uncle before take off -- in Arabic. That, apparently, made a woman sitting in front of him uncomfortable, and shortly after hanging up, Makhzoomi was escorted off the flight by a Southwest Airlines employee. As it turns out, passenger removal is not unusual. People are removed from flights all the time for any number of reasons. What are the rules? Do passengers removed from flights have any recourse?