News Roundup

     Some surprising news items you may have missed this past week:
     Anti-Muslim Group Loses Trademark Ruling. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a ruling denying trademark registration for the phrase “Stop the Islamization of America.”
     Now you can use those words on your T-shirts and athletic shoes without fear of infringement litigation.
     The ruling is In Re Pamela Geller and Robert B. Spencer, and we learn there that a Trademark Trial and Appeals Board said the requested trademark “may be disparaging to American Muslims.”
     May be?
     Seemed like kind of a Donald Sterling slam dunk on that issue, but that didn’t stop the appellants from arguing there was “no substantial evidence” to support the finding.
     Yeah, that’s weird, but the question I had wasn’t addressed at all in the ruling: Why would you want trademark protection for that phrase?
     Did they want to sue competing racist infringers?
     Was this an anti-racism group that wanted to prevent real racists from using those words?
     No word on whether they’re going for copyright protection.
     Law Students Go Viral. NYU Law School proudly announced that a student-made rap music video has gone viral.
     According to NYU, a student composer “was struck by musical inspiration while reviewing the two-step analysis born from the Supreme Court’s 1984 decision in Chevron USA v. Natural Resources Defense Council.”
     Who wouldn’t be?
     Some cynics out there might be thinking that extreme boredom rather than inspiration might have been a motivating factor here, but does it really matter? This is a terrific idea.
     Law schools can now entice students with potential legal careers and musical Internet fame. There may be too many lawyers out there, but are there too many legal rappers?
     And studying will be so much easier when accompanied by some phat beats and stepping.
     There are so many other song/video possibilities.
     I’m picturing a gospel chorus for Citizens United with money raining down from the heavens.
     Or “Roe, Roe, Roe v. Wade, finally freed the womb …”
     Or “The Ballad of Bush v. Gore – a lot of us are feeling sore …”
     This is definitely inspirational.
     Humiliation in Florida. The Florida Supreme Court last week made it clear that it won’t tolerate bad behavior by judges.
     Sort of.
     This is from a ruling called Re: Brenda Tracy Sheehan: “Such disregard of criminal law and public safety undermines the public’s confidence in the integrity of the judiciary and will not be tolerated.”
     And how is the court going to implement this intolerance?
     “We order Judge Sheehan to appear before this Court for the administration of a public reprimand …”
     OK, that’s got to be bad, right? Maybe some bare butt spanking involved?
     Or stocks and people throwing fruit?
     It turns out that the Florida court likes to dish out this sort of thing to errant judges. Check out a news account of one such public shaming that took place last month – 13 months after the sentence was announced.
     Apparently you get scolded and the chief justice says he and all the other judges are sad.
     The key bit of information comes in paragraph 14 of the news report: “With the reprimand over in less than seven minutes …”
     Justice is swift.

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