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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Supreme Court stands up for First Amendment

Uploaded: Jun 27, 2017
Good news for those of us who believe the First Amendment is critical to our Republic. The Supreme Court, in a rare unanimous decision, tossed out a 70-year-old provision of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The regulation allowed the office to reject trademarks that it’s bureaucrats found objectionable.
The case was brought by an Asian-American band that sought to trademark its name, “Slants.”
Writing the opinion, Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “The provision violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the grounds that it expresses ideas that offend.”
The ruling also will help the Washington Redskins. The team has been battling the trademark office since it cancelled its trademarks in 2014 arguing they were offensive to Native Americans. The court left no doubt that the office was out-of-line with the regulation—what’s interesting is how long it took for somebody to challenge it so it could be overthrown.

I was saddened to read of the passing of Dick Baker, the long-time president and CEO of Ponderosa Homes. He died May 25 at the age of 73.
I have known Dick for many years, particularly through his leadership of the homebuilder’s charity arm, HomeAid of Northern California.
Many years ago, Dick was chairman of the group and initially rejected an application from Shepherd’s Gate for help with its Livermore campus that just had one residence hall and the offices built. I was serving on the board of Shepherd’s Gate at the time. I joined our Steve McRee, the Shepherd’s Gate CEO, when we met with Dick asked for reconsideration. He changed his mind about partnering with our organization.
That partnership resulted in three key facilities on the Livermore campus: the second residence hall, the five cottages and last year, the long-awaited Life Center. HomeAid did have a policy of only helping a non-profit once, but modified it for Shepherd’s Gate and ended up building more than half of the campus.
Dick’s leadership led to the first commitment and those three buildings and the thousands of women and children who have been served there are a legacy to his vision in partnering with a faith-based organization that never has taken government money.

Comments

 +   3 people like this
Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jun 27, 2017 at 10:17 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

Tim,

The ruling on the Trademark is truly good for upholding the 1st amendment, but more significantly SCOTUS ruled on Trinity vs Missouri.

This case was about whether a religious school could tap into state funds for improvements to its infrastructure; in this case rubber tires for a playground. The judges ruled in favor of the school. Web Link

The ruling has vast implications with how public funds get distributed to religious/private schools, specifically in the form of vouchers. Some would say it will open the flood-gates and I tend to believe this to be correct.

On a side note, one can immediately see how Gorsuch has already impacted the court, and with Kennedy rumored to be retiring and RBG possibly not lasting too much longer, we could see a vastly different (and better) landscape in the US for years to come.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by nautikumar, a resident of Avila,
on Jul 6, 2017 at 12:59 am

nautikumar is a registered user.

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 +  Like this comment
Posted by nikhilatri, a resident of Castlewood,
on Sep 6, 2017 at 10:25 pm

nikhilatri is a registered user.

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