Skip to comments.Supreme Court could rule on 'Choose Life' plates
Posted on 03/19/2006 2:51:49 PM PST by wagglebee
Controversial license plate.
A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati ruled a Tennessee law allowing the plates does not violate the Constitution. The challenge to the law was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee.
"Pro-life speech is not second class speech," said Gary McCaleb, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, which backed the state in the case. "The Tennessee Legislature has the constitutional right to offer a license plate with a pro-life point of view if it chooses to do so, regardless of what it decides regarding other specialty plates."
Abortion-rights groups, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, have issued legal challenges to the "Choose Life" plates in other states.
Choose Life, Inc., a non-profit group, launched in 1997 what has become a national movement.
The 6th Circuit panel said in its opinion that with respect to the Constitution, the fact that the "Choose Life" message is considered by some to be more controversial than other messages is irrelevant.
"Such a distinction ... is entirely indefensible as a matter of First Amendment law. In the absence of a tenable distinction, invalidating the Act in this case would effectively invalidate not only all those government specialty license plate provisions that involve a message that anyone might disagree with, but also effectively invalidate all manner of other long-accepted practices in the form of government-crafted messages disseminated by private volunteers. We are not provided with a sound legal basis for making such a leap."
ADF said the ruling increases the likelihood the U.S. Supreme Court eventually will grant review of a case regarding the constitutionality of pro-life messages on license plates.
Yesterday's ruling created a circuit split after an earlier ruling in the 4th Circuit invalidated a similar pro-life license plate in South Carolina.
Florida-based Liberty Counsel, which filed a brief in support of the Tennessee law, defended the first successful appellate court ruling involving the Florida "Choose Life" license plate in the case of Women's Emergency Network v. Bush.
Mathew D. Staver, Liberty Counsel's president and general counsel, said the appeals court decision in the Tennessee case "averted the hijacking" of the specialty plate.
"Had the ACLU been successful in striking down the 'Choose Life' license plate, the result would have meant that government is never permitted to express its own message or promote valuable social policies," he said. "Every warning against smoking would be followed by a message endorsing cigarettes. The result would be absurd. The state of Tennessee's choice to promote life over abortion is not only wise social policy it is in complete harmony with the First Amendment."
I'm completely lost; upon what grounds does one have to even begin to claim this is unconstitutional?
The ACLU needs to be euthanized.
Some BS about the fact that license plates are produced by the state and are actually property of the state.
Established organizations can draw up license plate designs. So far, no pro-life organization has come up with one yet, but there are plenty of them. I've got an Amateur Radio license plate myself. Looks something like this:
ACLU: If I can buy a "Save the Bay" plate in my state, why shouldn't I be able to buy a "Choose Life" plate???
Religious people might say something like it or else Speaks against the constitutional right to kill infants is the only two angles I can come up with.
Both are completely ludicrous to me but then I'm not an ACLU member so they might think them rational.
The ACLU is anti-free speech! Shocking! Where is David Gregory when you need him?
Even if the state chooses to allow abortion on the premise that it is a horrible but necessary "right", they most certainly can try to discourage the practice. They create government campaigns to discourage tobacco and alcohol use all the time.
And if it's a hurt feelings problem, there is no constitutional protection from having ones feelings hurt or having ones political rhetoric undermined.
The ACLU is Pro-Choice.................unless you choose the choice that the ACLU does not want you to choose.
Are they going to throw the whole lot of you in jail if you have them??????? That's pretty Marxist, if you ask me.
I seem to recall, but I can't say for certain, that this lawsuit was brought because the "Choose Choice" license plate was banned, but the "Choose Life" was ok'd. If that is the case, I would agree with the suit on principle, even if I disagreed with the message.
"...the "Choose Choice" license plate was banned, ..."
Could there be a more vapid slogan than "Chose choice"? How about "Drink drinks"; or "Eat Eats"; or the "Smell Smells"?
C'mon, the Atheist Criminal Lovers Union is what America is all about... if you hate America.
Criminal Number 18F
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