The Slants’ Simon Tam: ‘Courts Hijacked My Case’
By Jacqueline Keeler
Expecting the courts to say only an ethnic group can "reappropriate" a word is naive. It would be flat-out racist to rule that a Native team could trademark "Redskins" but the Washington team can't. Under the law, it has to be both or neither.
Fighting for "Slants" is basically fighting for all slurs to be trademarked and used without restrictions. Even banning all slurs is questionable, as the recent court ruling shows. The courts certainly will not pick and choose between "good" and bad slurs.
And the case "hijacking" aspect, while not necessarily predictable, does happen sometimes. Again, fighting for "Slants" opened the courts to rule however they wanted. They could easily ignore the "minority can reappropriate its own slur" argument and declare it a free-speech issue. I.e., the government can't restrict slurs, period.
Not over yet
With the Slants decision, it's beginning to look as if the Redskins will win their trademark appeal. Most commentators seem to think so, anyway. But the following analysis says the battle isn't over yet.
Washington Redskins Haven’t Won Yet: Why Constitutionality of Section 2(a) is Not Yet Final
By Susan Neuberger Weller and Serge Subach