Thursday, June 18, 2015

Supreme Court Rules Texas Can BAN Confederate License Plates

In a case fraught with racial overtones, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday backed Texas' refusal to issue license plates with the Confederate battle flag, a decision that was watched closely in Southern states where the Civil War still can arouse strong feelings.  

Such plates, Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote for the majority, are the government's speech and are thus immune from First Amendment attacks.  Read more at Longview News Journal website article by Lauren McGaughyand Kevin Diaz.

According to the Texas Tribune,  a 5-4 ruling released Thursday morning indicated that the court ruled that messages on license plates constitute "government speech," as the state of Texas had maintained in court filings and oral arguments.
"A person who displays a message on a Texas license plate likely intends to convey to the public that the State has endorsed that message," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote. "If not, the individual could simply display the message in question in larger letters on a bumper sticker right next to the plate."
The four justices who joined Breyer in the majority were Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.   
The Sons of Confederate Veterans applied in 2009 for a specialty license plate bearing the group’s logo, which features the flag of the Confederate States of America. Proceeds from the proposed plates would have raised money to place markers on the graves of Confederate soldiers and create monuments for Confederate heroes.
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles denied the application after a number of groups including the Texas NAACP called the proposed plates offensive.   Read more at Texas Tribune article by Aman Batheja.

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