Skip to comments.[Tennessee] Anti-abortion tags to be issued
Posted on 06/27/2006 7:48:03 AM PDT by SmithL
Tennessee motorists soon will be able to choose a "Choose Life" license plate, following the United States Supreme Court's refusal Monday to hear an appeal of the plate's legality.
The high court's decision ends a three-year legal battle over the specialty plates in which a federal judge in Tennessee first ruled the state could not issue them before a federal appeals court overturned that ruling and said Tennessee could.
State legislators overwhelmingly passed a bill creating the "Choose Life" plate in 2003. It became law without Gov. Phil Bredesen's signature.
"Clearly we are grateful for the court's announcement this morning," Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life, said in a statement Monday. "We now call on Gov. Bredesen to immediately expedite the production and distribution of this popular plate."
Tennessee Right to Life led the effort to get the legislation passed as well as the effort in subsequent court fights to defend it. New Life Resources Inc., the beneficiary of proceeds from the plates, has stated the money will provide funding for counseling, food programs and other services to pregnant women.
"Tennesseans have waited long enough to get this plate on the road and generating proceeds for agencies which help women and families facing difficult pregnancies," Harris said.
Julie Oaks, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Safety, said Monday the department is waiting on advice from the state attorney general's office. But she indicated the plates would be available soon.
"It's probably going to take us about three months to get them out to the public," Oaks said.
She said 1,265 people had applied for the "Choose Life" tags.
The American Civil Liberties Union wanted the high court to overturn a decision earlier this year by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati allowing the state to issue the "Choose Life" plates.
"We are disappointed," said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee. "We thought we had a strong case and good facts."
The ACLU argued the plates were unconstitutional because they allowed Tennesseans who oppose abortion to express their position on state-issued tags while muffling those on the other side of the abortion issue.
Legislators had rejected a measure that would have created a "Choose Choice" license plate.
Weinberg said the ACLU, which challenged the plates along with Planned Parenthood and some individuals, was looking at its options, including legislative action. She said there didn't appear to be many.
There are no options in court.
"When the U.S. Supreme Court denies cert (refuses to hear a case), that's it," Weinberg said.
Now "The question isn't whether they will be produced," she said. "The question is when they will be produced."
Oaks said the state did not issue the "Choose Life" tags after the Legislature passed the bill.
"It (was) appealed, so we didn't feel it would be prudent to put these license plates out there" and then possibly face having to recall them, she said.
Tennessee issues more than 100 specialty plates, ranging from tags supporting universities to ones supporting teachers, agriculture, wildlife and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
A motorist pays an extra fee for the tags, and some of the proceeds go to groups and agencies supporting the cause on the plates.
New Life Resources is affiliated with Tennessee Right to Life.
"The people have spoken, the Legislature has spoken, and now the federal courts have spoken," Harris said. Randy Kenner may be reached at 865-342-6305. The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Exactly. I don't believe in ANY vanity plates, whether my own lettering or state-issued themes. I'll just take the regular numbers on the regular plates, thanks.
That's because a truer plate would have to read "Choose Death".
If a Rat wanted to show his/her political support for either choice, then get both plates and park the cars next to each other in the driveway.
I suppose "anti-choice" would have been a bit too obvious.
Any dat the ACLU is disappointed, is a good day.
I hate to say it, but the plates may get their cars keyed.
Take that, Hedy!
They oppose these plates because they can't afford to have the "choice" stated aloud.
I'd prefer "abortion kills" myself, but this is good.
Liberals always talk about free speech, but one mark of a true liberal is their unending war against troublesome opposing views.
For the Left, any one of these 3 would be enough for them to "justify" their views.
But even having all three is not for the Left to accept the Right's rights.
How about a Pro-Abortion Licence Plate: Pro-Choice, We Kill Babies Every Day for Profit.
;) Got it.
"Muffling," my @$$. Anyone in TN or any other state is still perfectly free to cover the back of their car with stickers trumpeting the nauseating lies of the pro-death-choicers. (Is it unconstitutional for a state to offer a pro-environment plate but not a "Save an SUV, Shoot a Spotted Owl" plate? Morons.)