A protest against the Washington NFL team's racist mascot. Photo: Fibonacci Blue
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Trump administration gives up in NFL team's racist trademark dispute





The legal battle over the Washington NFL team's racist trademarks is essentially over.

In a development first reported by Lyle Denniston Law News, the Trump administration has conceded loss in Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc.. Oral arguments are not needed, the Department of Justice said in a letter to a federal appeals court, because the U.S. Supreme Court has resolved the main issue in the case.

"Consistent with Tam, the dourt should reverse the judgment of the district court and remand the case with instructions to enter judgment in favor of Pro-Football," the one-page letter to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals stated.

The letter came after the 4th Circuit asked the parties for their views in light of Tam, which was handed down by the Supreme Court on June 19. Pro-Football, the name of the corporation that owns the Washington team, was the first to respond.

Indianz.Com on SoundCloud: U.S. Supreme Court Oral Arguments in Matal v. Tam (Lee v. Tam) January 18, 2017

"The Supreme Court in Tam unanimously held that the disparagement clause in § 2(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), violates the First Amendment and is unconstitutional," attorneys for the team wrote on June 22.

A group of young Native activists, led by Navajo Nation citizen Amanda Blackhorse, were using the Lanham Act to seek the cancellation of the team's racist trademarks. While they have yet to respond to the 4th Circuit's inquiry, the Supreme Court's decision has basically put an end to their case, as the other parties pointed out.

But Blackhorse, fellow activists, tribes and tribal organizations have vowed to keep fighting. The say the team's name is racist, whether or not it enjoys trademark protection under federal law.

"Native people have won public opinion with regard to ending racist Native mascots. My heart is not on the ground. My heart is strong," Blackhorse wrote on Twitter after the Supreme Court's ruling.

Read More on the Story:
U.S. seeks end of “Redskins” trademark fight (Lyle Denniston Law News 6/28)

U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Matal v. Tam:
Syllabus | Opinion [Alito] | Concurrence [Kennedy] | Concurrence [Thomas]

Related Stories:
New York Times editorial board reconsiders stance on racist trademarks (June 23, 2017)
Cronkite News: Navajo activist vows fight against racist NFL mascot (June 20, 2017)
Supreme Court ruling poses hurdle for opponents of racist NFL mascot (June 19, 2017) ne 23, 2017)