TheSenLive

Justices say government can't refuse disparaging trademarks


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday, June 19, that the band can trademark its name, even though some people see it as racially disparaging.

In the 8-0 ruling on Matal v. Tam, the Supreme Court ruled a law prohibiting the government from registering trademarks if they "disparage" others is a violation of the First Amendment.

The free speech victory goes to Simon Tam, the Asian-American frontman for The Slants who attempted to register his rock band's name.

The federal government said in court papers that it should not be required to approve trademarks "containing crude references to women based on parts of their anatomy; the most repellent racial slurs and white-supremacist slogans; and demeaning illustrations of the prophet Mohammed and other religious figures".

"The government defends free speech around the world because it knows when free speech is threatened, religious minorities suffer", said Hannah Smith, senior counsel at Becket, a non-profit religious liberty law firm that says it has teamed with the government in the past to fight laws banning insulting or defaming religious speech.

The Redskins' appeal on that decision was put on hold by a federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., until the Supreme Court ruled on the Slants case.

In its 39-page decision announced by Justice Samuel Alito, the court ruled that the intent of the trademark rule was not to "cleanse commercial speech of any expression likely to cause offense".

Indian groups opposing the Redskins said the ruling does not change the fact that the name "is a dictionary-defined racial slur". The four more "liberal" justices, led by Justice Anthony Kennedy, would've ended the discussion after finding that the PTO here is engaging in viewpoint discrimination among private speech.

Dan Snyder, the team's owner, has said that the name "represents honor, represents respect, represents pride".

"I am THRILLED", Snyder told the AP.

The ruling will end a two-decade effort by Native American activists to cancel the team's registrations as pressure to change the name.

But when the litigation of the word "redskins" is left to a group like the PTO, the resulting decisions will always say more about that body's own biases than anything else.

The request was denied on the ground that it is disparaging to "persons of Asian descent".

Critics of the law said the trademark office has been wildly inconsistent over the years in deciding what terms are too offensive to warrant trademark protection. New Justice Neil Gorsuch didn't take part in the case because it was argued before he joined the court.

In a filing Monday, the Justice Department defended the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board's decision past year to strip the team of protections.

"A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all", writes Kennedy.

Related Articles

  • Schiff says firing Mueller would echo Watergate

    Mueller's inquiry may also now include questions about whether Trump tried to influence the FBI investigation. She said such a move would "destroy any shred of trust in the president's judgment that remains over here".
    Flames get Smith in trade, Sabres snag Beaulieu

    Flames get Smith in trade, Sabres snag Beaulieu

    Smith, 35, was 19-26-9 with a 2.92 goals-against average and.914 save percentage in 55 starts with the Coyotes this past season. Meanwhile, the Flames registered 94 points but were swept in the first round of the postseason by the Anaheim Ducks.

    EU's Brexit negotiator puts pressure on UK

    But a deal with the DUP also risks destabilising Northern Ireland by increasing the influence of pro-British unionists. As the European Union has itself said, "nothing is agreed, until everything is agreed".
  • Newtown parent won't view NBC interview of Alex Jones

    Newtown parent won't view NBC interview of Alex Jones

    But even a masterclass in dress-down interviews wouldn't undo the damage already done by NBC News and Kelly. But he added that he remained skeptical after he "watched the footage" of children leaving the building.

    5 things to watch for on Sunday at the US Open

    Thomas will be in the final pairing with leader Brian Harman , vying to be the first left-handed champion. Scottie Scheffler attends Texas, so there is some rivalry to this low amateur battle, and he's now at -2.
    Tigers put DH Victor Martinez on DL with irregular heartbeat

    Tigers put DH Victor Martinez on DL with irregular heartbeat

    Miguel Cabrera , who hit a game-winning homer in the ninth inning on Thursday, was the designated hitter Friday against the Rays . The Tigers are headed for the West Coast on Sunday after wrapping up their home series with the Rays.
  • Pentagon agrees to $12 billion jet deal with Qatar

    Pentagon agrees to $12 billion jet deal with Qatar

    The crews of the two vessels were received by Qatari navy officers, QNA said, citing the statement from the defence ministry. This last November, the USA had approved to possibly sell up $21.1bn worth of F-15QA aircrafts to Qatar- around 72 of them.
    There's Lead in 20 Percent of Store-Bought Baby Food, Study Finds

    There's Lead in 20 Percent of Store-Bought Baby Food, Study Finds

    EDF says baby food versions of apple and grape juice and carrots had samples with higher levels of lead than the regular versions. In March of this year, the EDF submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to get that brand-level data from the agency.
    Jo Cox's husband says 'family has not been broken'

    Jo Cox's husband says 'family has not been broken'

    The event is inspired by words from Mrs Cox's first speech in Parliament: "We are far more united, and have far more in common than that which divides us".
  • London mosque attacker: 'I want to kill all Muslims'

    London mosque attacker: 'I want to kill all Muslims'

    Elmi Abbas, another local, told MEE he had tried to help the heart-attack victim before police and ambulance services arrived. The chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque , Mohammed Kozbar, says the incident was a "cowardly attack" on worshippers.
    Cars 3 speeds past Wonder Woman at North American box office

    Cars 3 speeds past Wonder Woman at North American box office

    The film generated an estimated $11.5 million, well above the predicted $6 million to $9 million, according to Box Office Analyst. " Cars 3 " is now on track for a $ 60 million debut despite opening against four other films this Father's Day weekend.

    Diego Costa resigned to Chelsea exit but keen on rejoining Atletico Madrid

    In an interview with Marca , he also confirmed that his relatioship with the manager has not been great. Costa's head was turned in January when he was linked with a big money move to China.

Comments