Why the Supreme Court Protects Offensive Trademarks But Not Texas Plates With Confederate Flag

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that it's unconstitutional for the federal government to reject trademarks because they use offensive terms like racial slurs.Two years ago, however, the court determined that Texas was free to turn down a specialty license plate design featuring the Confederate battle flag.What gives?Both decisions invoke the First Amendment's free-speech clause, but in different ways. The court concluded in the most recent case that an Oregon rock band's trademark application involved private speech that cannot be restricted by the government based on content. But in the Texas case, a majority of the court concluded that a license plate design is government speech deprived of First Amendment protection.The Texas decision echoed throughout the Oregon case, even though the Supreme Court ultimately dismissed comparisons between the two.Here's a rundown of both cases and the distinctions made by the court:Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans  Continue reading...

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