Supreme Court Hails the Redskins

Redskins can keep racist trademark

By Chris Needham
|  Monday, Nov 16, 2009  |  Updated 12:15 PM EDT
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Supreme Court Hails the Redskins

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The Supreme Court says that even if you think that this is racist, there's not much any of us can do about it.

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The Redskins didn't just win on the field yesterday. They won in the Supreme Court today.

The Court denied certiorari (Latin for "leave us the heck alone") in the case where a group of Native Americans were challenging the legality of the Redskins' trademark. 

The case is now effectively dead, with the last ruling, which found that the group had no legal basis to sue, standing. That loud cheer you heard is Danny Snyder, who gets to keep his beloved team's name. (Although he's probably upset at all the lost jersey sales should he have been forced to change the name.)

A group of Native Americans, led by Suzan Shown Harjo, have been arguing since 1992 that the Redskins' trademark is invalid because of its inherent racism. In 1999, they won a decision from the Patent and Trademark Office that it was indeed racist, invalidating the trademark (which would allow anyone to make their own "Official" Redskins merchandise).

That's when the lawyers really entered the picture. Ultimately, a 2003 U.S. District Court ruling found that the group did not have standing to protest the trademark in 1992 because the trademark had been around since the 1960s. Basically, the court found that the clock had run out.

Today's Supreme Court action (inaction, really) means that the ruling stands. And Chief Zee is free to dance around in vaguely racist ways without any of us allowed to feel offended.

Hail to the Redskins! They're gonna be here for a while -- like it or not.

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