"The Supreme Court has vindicated First Amendment rights not only for our The Slants, but all Americans who are fighting against paternal government policies that ultimately lead to viewpoint discrimination".
The Patent Office had denied their attempt to trademark their band name because it was seen as derogatory towards Asians.
A group of Asian-American musicians called The Slants brought the case to the Supreme Court.
"The government defends free speech around the world because it knows when free speech is threatened, religious minorities suffer", said Hannah Smith, senior counsel at Becket, a non-profit religious liberty law firm that says it has teamed with the government in the past to fight laws banning insulting or defaming religious speech. The band members are Asian-American and the band name is an ironic co-option of a racial slur, not unlike the use of the "N word" by African-Americans or the "F word" by gay men. After their denial, The Slants' frontman, Simon Tam, appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals which ruled that the law didn't follow the Constitution's guarantee of free speech.
A district court in Virginia upheld the cancellation in 2015, and so the team appealed to the Fourth Circuit, which put the case aside while The Slants case-officially Matal v. Tam-was considered by the Supreme Court.
Mr Tam insisted he was not trying to be offensive but wanted to transform a derisive term into a statement of pride.
During oral argument before the Supreme Court on January 18, the justices hammered both sides with questions.
'It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend, ' Alito wrote.
The band welcomed the ruling.
As NPR's Nina Totenberg has reported, "the trademark office has denied registration to a group calling itself "Abort the Republicans", and another called "Democrats Shouldn't Breed". In 2014, the Patent Office revoked the Redskins' trademark after it was found to be offensive to Native Americans.
"Fortunately, today's opinion prevents the kind of absurd outcome that results when the government plays speech police", Rowland said.
"This journey has always been much bigger than our band: it's been about the rights of all marginalized communities to determine what's best for ourselves", he said.
Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch did not hear the case, but all of the other justices ruled in Tan's favor. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express "the thought that we hate".