The Supreme Court Rules Against Government-Enforced Political Correctness

The Supreme Court affirmed today that a Trademark law’s restriction on registration of disparaging marks violates the free speech guarantees of the US Constitution. In the case of Matal v. Tam, the Court (as Ethics Alarms predicted over a year ago) ruled that the government cannot legally  deny a trademark to companies or other applicants solely on the basis of the name being regarded as “offensive.”


The case concerned  an Asian-American band called The Slants, but the decision effectively settles the Washington Redskins’ fight to retain the trademark on its nickname. Harry Reid, also engaging in unconstitutional infringement of free speech, had his Democrats in the Senate send a threatening letter to team owner Dan Snyder, while the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), taking its cues from the Obama Administration theme that race and victim-mongering  trumps basic rights, ruled that the Washington NFL team’s name was “disparaging to Native Americans,” and cancelled six of its federal trademark registrations. The team appealed that verdict, and team owner Dan Snyder has vowed not to cave to illegal bullying from the government.

Thanks to the ruling—did I mention that it was unanimous?—the PTO will begin allowing registration of disparaging marks and will not cancel Registered marks because they are disparaging.

The last time I addressed this issue, in December of 2015, I wrote,

“I would like to see Snyder fight off the unethical government speech bullies, foil the political correctness hordes, and then, after he hasn’t heard a peep about team for a couple of years quietly change the anachronistic team name on his own volition. It’s time. The message sent by capitulating to the activists trying to force him to change, however, would be the same dangerous message sent by today’s college administrators, which is that a claim of offense doesn’t have to be reasonable to effectively muzzle speech, just persistent.”

I also wrote, somewhat more passionately ,in an earlier post,

Yes, I know that the Obama Administration and Harry Reid’s Senate regard the U.S. Constitution as an arcane annoyance and an impediment to their Leftist, nanny sate, politically correct-or-else Nirvana. Still, when progressives find themselves on the wrong side of the ACLU, they might want to consider whether they made a wrong turn somewhere….This is how this administration operates: it makes it very clear, though public statements, how it wants its supposedly non-political, objective agencies to rule, always based on pleasing a pro-Democrat demographic. It is a blatant strategy to rig the system and distort fairness, due process and justice for political gain. As we can see in the examples of the I.R.S. scandal and here, and, less successfully, in Obama’s inept efforts to convict the military’s sexual harassers before they stood trial, it is SOP, happily ignored by most journalists  because they are too corrupt, biased or dim to realize that just because they dislike the targets of this governmental abuse now, the damage it does to our national ideals and values is devastating….I repeat, because I have had to endure the insults of the political correctness bullies implying otherwise, I don’t like the Redskins name, I actively dislike Dan Snyder, and if the D.C. football team disbanded tomorrow, I wouldn’t shed a tear. But …this campaign is about policing speech. If the fact that the government is trying to use its power to do that doesn’t alarm, anger and frighten you—if you don’t find that a great deal more offensive than the name of a city’s pro football team—your priorities are warped, I question your commitment to American values, and I regard you as a menace to my liberty and my rights as a citizen.

And if you don’t think this kind of thing was a big reason that Donald Trump is in the White House, you haven’t been paying attention.

You can read the decision here.

15 thoughts on “The Supreme Court Rules Against Government-Enforced Political Correctness

  1. “And if you don’t think this kind of thing was a big reason that Donald Trump is in the White House, you haven’t been paying attention.”

    This is very true… just as not prosecuting broken laws when the criminal is a politically connected progressive but harsh enforcement if the accused is poor, politically unconnected or, worse, politically connected to the wrong side stirs resentment from even non politcally active citizens.

    Trump is a creation of the Left, and this knowledge drives them to the excesses we see today.

  2. I love your stuff, but I have a comment on the name Redskins. You might be able to enlighten me on this.

    I’ve never understood the idea of people being offended on someone else’s behalf. To me, it is the height of condescension to assume that someone else is offended by something when that you are not that persons color, ethnicity or whatever. To think that someone else should be offended because you THINK they should be. BTW, I’m using “you” as a general term

    • I agree. If you search for Redskins on the blog, you’ll find more than one post where I made this exact point. Of course, it isn’t really being offended, it’s a way to leverage power, and make others bend to your will, using a group as ballast even though that group may not be offended at all—as in this case.

    • People perhaps should have been offended for the Native Americans once the first people landed on the shores of America. That aside, it’s ridiculous to me they are getting offended by the name of the team when they have no clue as to why it has its name. Lone Star Dietz coached the inaugural Boston Redskins team 80 years ago, before it moved to Washington. He was a Sioux Indian, and the team was named in his honor, “out of respect for Native American heritage and tradition.” Of course, there’s also big debate as to whether he is really Native American, mostly on the side that finds the logo disparaging. Whether his claims are true or not is still up for debate. I’m sure if this PC nonsense was allowed to continue somehow The Cowboys would be targeted for some reason, then we’d get PETA and animal rights groups involved about all the animal names, and eventually, someone would find a reason The Titans were offensive and down the line it would go.

      The other thing about the article I noticed was about the band. An “Asian-American band calling themselves The Slants”. Did I miss something? No one named them that other than themselves, and they are Asian descendants! I’m going to take a wild guess and say it’s not the Asian-American community offended by it either. How is it any different than African-Americans using the “N” word in reference to each other? I feel like The Slants is more a satirical name along with the band kind of saying we know we’re called this, but we’re taking it to show you it’s lost it’s power now.

      What people should get offended on others behalves about is maybe the homelessness, inner city violence, treatment of veterans and repeat criminal offenders getting free passes. But it’s apparently more important to worry about a trademark that’s older than anyone offended by it.

      • “Lone Star Dietz coached the inaugural Boston Redskins team 80 years ago, before it moved to Washington. He was a Sioux Indian, and the team was named in his honor, “out of respect for Native American heritage and tradition.”

        This appears to be a bogus story, just FYI.

        As I explained here:

        Key section:

        As a born and bred Bostonian, from whence the Redskins came, let me once again spin the strange but true yarn about the team’s bungled naming. It was once called the Boston Braves, football’s twin of the baseball Boston Braves, who are still Braves but now reside in Atlanta (after a stop in Milwaukee). But Braves Field was small, and the N.L. Braves always played second-fiddle to the richer and more popular A.L. Red Sox, so Marshall decided to move his football team’s home games to Fenway Park. He didn’t feel like spending the money to change the team’s Native American logo, however. Still, an NFL team playing in the home of the Red Sox couldn’t call itself by the same name as the that team’s cross-city rivals.

        Then someone, maybe a smart crossword puzzle whiz in the publicity department—I doubt it was Marshall himself—had a brainstorm. Change the name to “Redskins!” It still covered the Indian chief logo, and “braves” theme, while being a clever play on words that showed kinship to the team’s popular baseball hosts. Red SOX, Redskins, get it? Brilliant! Marshall, being whatever the opposite of politically correct is, didn’t think the name would offend anyone, and in those days when the NFL was far from the national presence it is today, and because Marshall’s team was playing in a city filled with Indian statues, art and symbolism (but few living Native Americans), he was right.

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