Newsmakers 12/11/19 – James Masnov

Posted on December 11, 2019

James Masnov, Free Speech and Identity Politics, joins Denise and Dave for an update on a Free Speech case that went to the Supreme Court. https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/matal-v-tam/

Matal v. Tam (2017) The U.S. Supreme Court case, Matal v. Tam (2017), was one of the most critical First Amendment cases of the early twenty-first century. The court’s unanimous ruling in favor of The Slants, a dance rock group founded in Portland, held that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office could not refuse registration of a trademark based on the Disparagement Clause of the Lanham Act (1946). The ruling reversed decades of precedent and deemed the Disparagement Clause unconstitutional. Matal v. Tam was a victory for advocates of free speech and generated a national discussion about free expression, Asian American identity, and the power of co-opting or reclaiming racial slurs. The case also underscored the tension between art and commerce, private speech and government interest, and individual rights versus state powers.

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