By tomorrow, the ACLU is expected to file an amicus brief in support of the Redskins trademark, before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. That is to be expected. See Shame On You, ACLU, For Supporting Dan Snyder's "Racist" Trademark (Part One). But it should not be accepted.
First, a call to action:
Consider exercising your free speech rights today by emailing national ACLU Legal Director, Steven Shapiro, email@example.com, TODAY, to encourage them to not going through with their filing. Tell the ACLU why they are morally, if not legally, wrong.
In any event, the ACLU will surely, in rather myopic fashion, take the position that a patently racist trademark must be protected in the name of free speech. See also Citizens United.
I have only two points to the almighty ACLU---one on the "merits"; one as to form:
First, trademark protection per se restricts free speech. It simply means that if I own the rights to a mark, you can't use it in your speech. How is that free speech, ACLU? Seriously, how?
Second, shame on you, for once again not even bothering to consult with those who are chiefly affected by the Redskins trademark: American Indigenous Peoples.
In March, I asked the ACLU directly the question posed in my blog:
Did [the ACLU] even bother to consult with any Natives before taking it upon themselves to advocate for tolerable racism against American's indigenous peoples...?
I found out later the answer was "no"---the ACLU didn't even bother to consult with NCAI or NARF, let alone any tribe or tribal member. I asked the same question yesterday when I heard news of the ACLU's latest ploy, and again confirmed that the answer is "no."
Despite being advised of the normative protocol of consultation with Indigenous Peoples---which ACLU Indian civil rights guru Stephen Pevar has included in his preeminent book, "The Rights of Indians and Tribes"---the ACLU once again didn't even bother to consult with NCAI or NARF.
I am stunned by the ACLU's arrogance (which is describing their indignant behavior towards us on this issue, about as politely as I can). So, again, I simply say: Shame on you, ACLU.
Gabriel S. Galanda is the managing partner of Galanda Broadman, PLLC. Gabe has collaborated with the ACLU in defense of American Indian prisoners' religious freedoms.