US Supreme Court debates Texas confederate Flag License Plate

There are hundreds of specialty license plate options in the state of Texas, many of which express values held by the vehicle operators. From light hearted college alumni plates to those sporting phrases such as “God Bless Texas” , “Fight Terrorism” and “Choose life”.

In 2011, the Sons of Confederate Veterans proposed a license plate featuring the confederate flag, which the Texas department of motor vehicles board rejected the proposal. Consequently, the Sons of Confederate Veterans sued the state of texas for infringing upon their first amendment rights.

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Illustration by Texas Department of Motor Vehicles by Reuters

According to The Guardian, this past Monday the US supreme court appeared to be conflicted when hearing the arguments as to whether such an act truly is interfering with citizens’ first amendment rights.

The big debate in the Supreme Court was over whether the plate is displaying “private speech”, or “Government speech” , being that the license plate displays the name Texas and is state issued.

Our favorite, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, listed off potential outcomes of the state allowing this license plate to exist; including people asking for a swastika, or a ‘Jihad’ on their plate.

According to The Guardian similar plates with a confederate flag on them already appear in the following states: Louisiana, Maryland, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama.

This had the Justices pose the question of whether not the state has sound legal precedence under the first amendment, to rule some license plates and not others

An official ruling in the Walker V. Texas division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. case is expected in the coming months.


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