June 19, 2017

Whiff of Sanity: Supremes Allow Registration of Trademarks Seen As ‘Disparaging’

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:19 pm

Hard to believe, but the decision was unanimous (HT RedState), and will almost certainly make the lives of the ninnies who are abusing the court system to force the Washington Redskins (and, almost certainly, the Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves after that) to change their team names:

Supreme Court says government can’t refuse disparaging trademarks

The government cannot censor trademarks on the grounds they may be offensive to some, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in a major decision that could also clear the way for the Washington Redskins football team to maintain its trademarks.

The case before the high court involved an Asian rock band named “The Slants.” The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office originally denying the band’s name, saying it was a racial slur that violated the agency’s policy, based on federal law, that prohibits granting disparaging trademarks.

Justices, though, said that violated the First Amendment.

“Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said in his opinion for the court.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which supported the band, said Monday’s ruling was a huge win for the First Amendment and prevents the government from policing speech.

The ruling was 8-0, though four justices joined a concurring opinion. Justice Neil Gorsuch didn’t participate in the case.

Government lawyers had argued that since a federal agency ruled on trademarks, they amounted to a form of government speech. That, the lawyers said, meant the government had the right to prohibit ones deemed offensive.

The court, though, said trademarks are private speech.

“Government lawyers” in this instance means “nutty Obama administration lawyers at his Justice Department.” Given that they couldn’t even convince the far-left likes of Ruth Bader Ginsburg or “wise Latina” Sonia Sototmayor that they had a case, “nutty” is not an extreme descriptor at all.

The unanimous nature of the decision, in my view, also betrays the fact that Obama’s Department of Justice really knew they would lose if the case got to the Supremes, and was hoping to intimidate the plaintiffs into giving in and settling, thereby setting a precedent for turning the Patent Office into a premanent branch of the left’s Speech Police.

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UPDATE: It gets better. This opinion makes it crystal clear, despite at least four decades of PC efforts to make it so, that there is (still) no genuine Constitutional basis for the government banning or even regulating “offensive” speech or even arbitrarily defined (by people, almost invariably leftists who want to silence the right, who claim to know what’s best for us) “hate speech” —

“… speech that some view as racially offensive is protected not just against outright prohibition but also against lesser restrictions.”

Imagine that.

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