Pro-Life License Plates Get To Live

| by Maura Turcotte

If you’re seeking to broadcast your pro-life views on your license plate in North Carolina, you may be in luck, thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision.

On June 29, the Supreme Court in Berger v. American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina reversed a federal court ruling that had made license plates bearing the message “Choose Life” unconstitutional. The previous court decision’s reasoning was that there was no license plate option in support of abortion rights, reports TheBlaze.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will now be able to reconsider this case on license plates.

This decision by the Supreme Court follows another similar ruling from June 18. In Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, a state such as Texas can now reject plates that contain the image of the Confederate flag. The decision was 5 to 4, reports USA Today.

With these two rulings, it is now up to states to decide which license plates are acceptable. It was argued by the majority justices in the Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans case that the First Amendment does not stop state governments from rejecting specific designs because license plates are considered to fall under government speech.

The four minority justices are uneasy with this ruling. In their dissenting remarks, the justices explained, "The court's decision passes off private speech as government speech and, in doing so, establishes a precedent that threatens private speech that government finds displeasing," reported USA Today.

Justice Samuel Alito, who led the four, which included Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia, expressed concern that this decision could lead to greater government censorship.

Many pro-life supporters are rejoicing in this decision.

In a press release, Scott Gaylord of the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom explained:

“Third parties like (American Civil Liberties Union) cannot sanitize the public square of views a state communicates simply because they do not like those messages. As the Supreme Court made clear in Walker (v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans), the attempt to censor a message like North Carolina’s ‘Choose Life’ message is inconsistent with both the purpose of the First Amendment and the Supreme Court’s government speech precedents.”

Sources: TheBlaze, USA Today 

Photo Source: Alliance Defending Freedom