The Supreme Court upheld an earlier ruling in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit against the United States Trademark and Patent Office, who sought to prevent the band from trademarking their name.
In addition to Washington's football team, The Slants have found a disparate group of advocates in their corner, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Asian American Legal Defense Fund, and the American Civil Liberties Union, which called today's ruing a victory for the First Amendment.
In 2014, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board revoked six federal trademark registrations belonging to the Redskins, a ruling which was affirmed by a federal judge in 2015.
The Redskins case was on hold pending the Supreme Court decision in the Slants case.
The justices were unanimous in saying that the 71-year-old trademark law barring disparaging terms infringes free speech rights.
"Not only do trademarks function only minimally as a vehicle for expression, but trademark registration also involves the necessary participation of the government in approving that registration, which confers relaxed First Amendment review even when combined with the speech of a private party", the Obama lawyers said. But founder Simon Tam said the point of the band's name is just the opposite: an attempt to reclaim a slur and use it "as a badge of pride". Ultimately, however, the sentiment is similar that the government must be careful about interfering with free speech.
"The Supreme Court vindicated the team's position that the First Amendment blocks the government from denying or cancelling a trademark registration based on the government's opinion", Blatt said.
"I am THRILLED", Snyder told the AP.
Redskins attorney Lisa Blatt said the team was "thrilled" with the court's decision.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office appealed that ruling to the high court in April, and the justices granted certiorari in September.
Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the court after arguments were heard in the case and did not participate in Monday's decision. The band's lawyers argued that the government can not use trademark law to impose burdens on free speech to protect listeners from offense. But they raised the bar for trademark denials so that names deemed to be offensive but not hateful can survive. The same is true for the Redskins, but the team did not want to lose the legal protections that go along with a registered trademark.