In a case heard by the Supreme Court that I like to refer to as Snowflakes v. the Constitution, the high court issued a rare, unanimous decision against attempts by the government to deny the First Amendment rights of individuals simply for being politically incorrect.
During the Obama administration, where certain “hate” words were banned from the liberal lexicon—such as “radical Islam” or “illegal aliens”—there was an attempt to use the trademark office to deny federal trademark protection to certain businesses and individuals. If, in the opinion of the government, a trademark application contained a disparaging message to people, living or dead, in addition to “institutions, beliefs, or national symbols,” trademarks were to be denied.
In the MATAL v. TAM case (the real name), an Asian rock group called “The Slants” had been denied trademark protection for its name. According to the US Patents and Trademark Office, the name was a racial slur that violated the agency’s policy against granting disparaging trademarks. While that may or may not be true, free speech cannot be denied simply because it might be offensive, a fact supported by Justice Samuel Alito in his opinion for the court when he said, “Speech may not be banned on the grounds that it expresses ideas that offend.”
Another victim affected by this ruling is likely to be the Washington Redskins who fell victim to Obama’s PC Police a few years ago. At that time, the FCC was considering filing a lawsuit against broadcasters just for saying the word “Redskins” over the air. In addition, the trademark office cancelled six registrations belonging to the NFL franchise.
In light of the ruling involving The Slants, chances are good that the Redskins will get their trademarks restored.
Much to the chagrin of LGBT snowflakes, minority snowflakes, feminist snowflakes, and even alt-right and Trump snowflakes, free speech doesn’t end simply because their delicate sensibilities may be offended.
In fact, the First Amendment exists specifically to protect unpopular speech.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative, your source for opinion that’s politically incorrect and always “right.” His articles are also featured on RedState.com.
His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated via Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.