Texas Confederate License Plate Case Goes All the Way to the Supreme Court
Texas commemorates its Confederacy roots in different ways, but many people are calling these new license plates offensive. Others say it's in their free speech to do so.
The Supreme Court met today to talk about whether or not the license plate shown above should be sold in the state of Texas. The group suing Texas is the Sons of Confederate Veterans. "In a free society, offensive speech should not just be tolerated, its regular presence should be celebrated as a symbol of democratic health — however odorous the products of a democracy may be," Hentoff, O'Rourke and others said in a brief backing the group.
The state of Texas makes 17.6 million dollars off of its specialty plates every year. A state motor vehicle board rejected the Sons of Confederate Veterans application because of concerns it would offend many Texans who believe the flag is a racially charged symbol of repression.
Texas' main argument to the Supreme Court is that the license plate is not like a bumper sticker slapped on the car by its driver. Instead, the state said, license plates are government property, and so what appears on them is not private individuals' speech but the government's. The First Amendment applies when governments try to regulate the speech of others, but not when governments are doing the talking.
The Supreme Court justices leaned in favor of allowing the State of Texas to reject certain messages or symbols saying that they were wary of giving hate groups a right to request a highly controversial symbol that supports hatred or violence to be included on a state-issued license plate.
This is a very complicated case and we will have to see how it all plays out. The court is expected to come back with a ruling on this case by late June. In the meantime, let us know what you think in the comments section below.