Supreme Court rules in favor of The Slants

June 19, 2017

 

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court today ruled that a federal statute banning registration of offensive or disparaging words is unconstitutional, siding with an Asian-American rock band named The Slants, a name deemed racially disparaging. In an 8-0 ruling, written by Justice Samuel Alito, the Court found that the law violated the First Amendment's free speech clause. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had previously ruled in The Slants' favor on the same grounds.

 

The ruling could have far-reaching effects, including restoration of valuable trademark registrations held by the Washington Redskins that were cancelled in 2014. The term "Redskins" was found to be disparaging to Native Americans and was cancelled under the same law that was the basis for refusing to register "Slants".

 

The full opinion of the Court can be found here.

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