New York Times Flips Stance, Now Supports Washington Redskins Keeping Trademark

Austin Daniel
June 21, 2017

"It is a fundamental principle of the First Amendment that the government may not punish or suppress speech based on disapproval of the ideas or perspectives the speech conveys", he wrote.

Douglas Gallagher, intellectual property attorney at SmithAmundsen LLC's Indianapolis office, was surprised by how broad the decision was.

With the left feverishly attempting to squash unwelcome speech on college campuses, with the president of the United States musing about tightening libel laws, with prominent liberals asserting that so-called hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment, free speech in America at least has one reliable friend - the Supreme Court of the United States. "It sends a strong message from the court that free speech is a fundamental right".

In this case, they came for a self-described "Chinatown Dance Rock" band with a cheeky name, and the Supreme Court said, Sorry, not in America.

With the most recent ruling of The Slants' case, Matal v. Tam, No. 15-1293, the Redskins are in a more favorable light to win its appeals case, according to legal analysts.

In 2014, the Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team's trademark because the team's name is a derogatory term for Native Americans. The same is true for the Redskins, but the team did not want to lose the legal protections that go along with a registered trademark. Fundamentally, the First Amendment prevents the government from punishing or suppressing speech based on disapproval of the ideas or perspectives the speech conveys.

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The reason, she said, is that "feelings are valid". In a portion of the opinion joined by seven of the eight participating Justices, he rejected the statutory argument that the disparagement clause prohibits only trademarks that disparage particular natural persons, as opposed to members of a racial or ethnic group more broadly.

In other words, the bureaucrats told the Slants some might find their band's name offensive.

The Redskins, Cleveland Indians with their "Chief Wahoo" logo and other professional and college organizations featuring Native American nicknames and mascots can not be censored by the US government, but that doesn't take the pressure off.

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians occupies part of northern IN and southern MI.

In the case of the Redskins' nickname, Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma has asked the commissioner of the National Football League to get the name changed because the NFL is "on the wrong side of history". A lower court said it would wait to hear an appeal of the decision until the Supreme Court ruled on the musical group's appeal. We also used reporting by the Associated Press. Nine of 10 American Indians have no problem with the use of the term "Redskins" as a sports mascot, according to a poll a year ago conducted by the Washington Post.

The public debate regarding whether the Washington name and logo actually offends Native Americans bubbles up from time to time. It found that 80 percent are not offended if called a "redskin" by a non-Indian. The plurality likewise refused to approve the disparagement clause under a new "government-program" doctrine that would merge the Court's government-speech and subsidy cases. The students took suggestions and then organized a vote, which included alumni who still lived in the area, on the top names.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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