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.

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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