Even Ruth Bader Ginsburg agrees that first amendment rights protect disparaging trademarks. Why? Because it's the first amendment. Someone deciding what's offensive and what's not is inherently autocratic and anathema to freedom of speech, isn't it?
Obviously this band was self-aware enough to fight for the right to name themselves and it was a conscious decision to do so.
WASHINGTON — In a decision likely to bolster the Washington Redskins’ efforts to protect its trademarks, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the government may not refuse to register potentially offensive names. A law denying protection to disparaging trademarks, the court said, violated the First Amendment.The decision was unanimous, but the justices were divided on the reasoning.The decision, concerning an Asian-American dance-rock band called the Slants, probably also means that the Washington Redskins football team will win its fight to retain federal trademark protection.The law at issue in both cases denies federal trademark protection to messages that may disparage people, living or dead, along with “institutions, beliefs or national symbols.”
The NYT editors must be eating their own livers right about now.