Should the U.S. government have the right to award or reject a trademark based on whether or not that trademark is “offensive?” The Supreme Court will decide next year in one of the most important First Amendment cases since Citizens United.
At issue is Simon Tam’s Asian-American music group, which he calls The Slants. When he attempted to trademark the name, the government said he couldn’t because the term is considered disparaging to Asians. The Patent and Trademark Office used a clause allowing them to turn down any applications that might offend a certain class of individuals, much as they did to revoke the trademark of the Washington Redskins. Instead of accepting the decision, however, Tam filed a lawsuit against the government and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the rejection unconstitutional.
From the ruling:
The government cannot refuse to register disparaging marks because it disapproves of the expressive messages conveyed by the marks. It cannot refuse to register marks because it concludes that such marks will be disparaging to others. The government regulation at issue amounts to viewpoint discrimination, and under the strict scrutiny review appropriate for government regulation of message or viewpoint, we conclude that the disparagement proscription is unconstitutional.
The U.S. government is appealing the ruling, and it is expected to go before the Supreme Court next spring.
Once again, we have a specific reminder of how important this election really is. A Hillary Clinton victory will give us the first liberal-majority Supreme Court in more than 30 years. If a couple of the Court’s aging justices retire or pass away during her tenure, she could lock up the Court for decades. Free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to religious freedom, and many other matters of constitutional importance will be “interpreted” into oblivion.
This is where the rubber meets the road. This is why we feel the NeverTrump Republicans, their eyes focused on 2020, are blindly leading this country into an abyss. This is why it’s so frustrating to see conservatives get caught up in the drama of whatever Trump said at the last rally. You may not like him, you may not trust him, and you may not even feel he is “fit” to be president. But unless he is really as inane as the left paints him to be, our country can easily survive his four-year term.
Can the country survive 20 or 30 years of liberal Supreme Court decisions?
Let’s not test it.