Friday, June 27, 2008

Justice may be blind, but it's not stupid

I guess this court decision would be ironic except for the fact that everyone could have seen it coming from a mile away:
A New Mexico appeals court on Friday ruled against a Los Alamos man who wanted to change his name to a phrase containing a popular four-letter obscenity.

The man appealed after a state district judge in Bernalillo County refused his request to change his name to "F--- Censorship!"

Judge Nan Nash ruled that the proposed name change was "obscene, offensive and would not comport with common decency."
But don't you see, Judge Nash, that you're just reaffirming the man's brave stance against censorship? No? I guess not.
The man — whose current legal name is Variable — argued on appeal that it was improper government censorship to deny him the name change.

"We do not believe that the district court's action infringes on petitioner's right to free speech," a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals said in its ruling.
Well, I guess Judge Nash might just have been right, then.

There actually is some real-life irony in this case, though. Bear with me, here.

You see, a few years back, the same court ruled that a person could call himself anything he wants as long as he's not committing fraud or misrepresentation by doing so. But the judges ruled that when that person petitions the courts for a legal name change, "the court has the authority to turn him down on several grounds, including if the name is offensive to common decency and good taste."

And what, might you ask, is ironic about that? Well...
That law was clarified in a 2004 case in the same court that apparently involved the same petitioner. In that case, an Albuquerque man whose name was Snaphappy Fishsuit Mokiligon got the go-ahead from the appeals court to change his name to Variable.
Heh. That's pretty sweet.

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