Stephen Breyer

Justices raise doubts over law barring offensive trademarks

In a First Amendment clash over a law barring offensive trademarks, the Supreme Court on Wednesday raised doubts about a government program that favors some forms of speech but rejects others that might disparage certain groups.

The justices heard arguments in a dispute involving an Asian-American band called the Slants that was denied a trademark because the U.S. Patent and Trademark office said the name is offensive to Asians.

Justice Elena Kagan reflected the concerns of several justices when she said government programs are not supposed to make a distinction based on viewpoint.

"The point is that I can say good things about something, but I can't say bad...

47°