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#1AUSA Bonus: Simon Tam and the Slants

July 02, 2019

In this bonus episode of our series #1AUSA – conversations on the First Amendment’s past, present, and future, from the National Conference on the First Amendment at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh – artist and activist Simon Tam and his band The Slants tell their story and perform some of their music. Simon Tam led The Slants – an Asian-American dance-rock band – all the way to the Supreme Court to fight to trademark their band’s name, which they purposely chose as reclamation of a slur used against Asian-Americans. They eventually won their case, Matal v. Tam, when the Court unanimously decided that a federal law prohibiting trademark names that disparage others was unconstitutional because “speech may not be banned on the grounds that it expresses ideas that offend.” Since then, Tam and the band have toured the country speaking about the First Amendment and the Constitution, and Tam authored the book 'Slanted: How an Asian American Troublemaker Took on the Supreme Court'. 

This episode was presented by Duquesne University and The Pittsburgh Foundation. For more information about the National Conference on the First Amendment, visit www.duq.edu/1a

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