Does the First Amendment Bar Cancellation of Redskins?

Posted: 17 Sep 2000

See all articles by Jeffrey Lefstin

Jeffrey Lefstin

Townsend and Townsend and Crew LLP


In this note, Jeffrey Lefstin examines the First Amendment implications of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board's decision to cancel the trademarks of the Washington Redskins. He concludes that if analyzed under the Supreme Court's current commercial speech doctrine, the cancellation would almost certainly be held to violate the Redskins' First Amendment rights. However, Lefstin argues that the trademarks' lack of informational content renders commercial speech doctrine largely irrelevant to the First Amendment analysis. He proceeds to explore unconstitutional conditions and public forum analyses, which do not depend on the trademarks' informational content. Nonetheless, Lefstin finds that the cancellation is likely unconstitutional under these doctrines as well.

Suggested Citation

Lefstin, Jeffrey, Does the First Amendment Bar Cancellation of Redskins?. Available at SSRN:

Jeffrey Lefstin (Contact Author)

Townsend and Townsend and Crew LLP ( email )

Two Embarcadero Center, Eighth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111-3834

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