In an 8-0 verdict, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a 71-year-old law banning offensive trademarks is unconstitutional. This is win for the First Amendment and free speech by allowing controversial and potentially offensive speech within the country.
The case was brought to the court by the Asian-American band, The Slants, who chose their name in order to reclaim the derogatory term used against Asian people. Their trademarked was denied because of the name’s offensive history.
Simon Tam, lead singer of the group, explained “We need to allow freedom of expression, especially with those you disagree with the most. Satire, humor, wit and irony — those are the things that will truly neuter malice.”
Justice Samuel Alito delivered the verdict stating “We now hold that this provision violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend.”
In a country where it seems that members of the far-left and far-right are continually trying to silence voices of dissent and make “hateful” speech illegal, it’s great to see American principles upheld to allow art and speech to continue to thrive.