Redskins owner Dan Snyder said he was thrilled and Neel Sukhatme with Georgetown Law School agreed he has every reason to be.
Tam said the band was “beyond humbled and thrilled” with the ruling. “I think it’s going to boil down to money and what will the trade-offs be”.
The U.S. Supreme Court Monday struck down as unconstitutional the federal government’s refusing to register trademarks deemed derogatory – a decision likely to enable the Washington Redskins to retain their name.
The Redskins’ long-standing court case to regain its trademark protection earned a boost on Monday after a Supreme Court ruling.
“It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle”, writes Alito in the opinion.
“Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express the thought we hate”, Alito said in a part of his opinion joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer. As Carter pointed out, “The Redskins are a historic, an endemic brand, a presence” in the Washington area, and neither their name nor their lack of recent playoff success has hurt their popularity.
In a separate high profile case in 2014 the Washington Redskins American football team had a trademark of its name cancelled by the patent office following complaints form Native American groups that it was racist.
That trademark office ruling capped a fight that began in 1992 when another group of activists sued – and lost – in an attempt to block the team’s use of the name.
“We found the Trademark Office justifying the denial of rights to people based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, and political views, simply because they disagreed with the message of these groups”.
“We respectfully disagree with the Court’s decision”.
The band sued, and for the past seven years has been waiting on a decision. While it may be legal for the team to use the name, she said, that doesn’t make it right.
The original lawsuit about the Redskins nickname was brought by plaintiff Amanda Blackhorse, who sued the team and claimed that the name “Redskins” disparaged Native Americans.
The provision was not saved by the government’s arguments that trademark protection was a matter of “government speech” or was a “subsidy” over which the first Amendment did not apply in its broadest sense.
Brian Cladoosby, president of the National Congress of American Indians, said the name “does not honor Native Americans, it honors those who committed genocide against Native Americans”.