For most of us the arguments over what can appear on a license plate in the way of political speech is somewhat silly. Do proponents of any position really believe that an opposing person’s view is changed because they see a short slogan on a auto license? Really, do they?
But there is still the issue of government sponsored speech. Because a license plate is issued by government the issue of what can go on it is important if the principles of democracy are to be upheld. If governments allows one position on a license plate, it should allow all positions, other than those which are obscene or clearly inappropriate.
But Republican don’t like that aspect of democracy. In
North Carolina they only
allow one position on the abortion rights issue on their plates.
The 2011 law, which approved other specialty plates, too, would have directed proceeds from the "Choose Life" plates to the
Pregnancy Care Fellowship, a nonprofit pregnancy care ministry. Carolina
Attempts to persuade the Republican-led legislature to amend legislation to include “Respect Choice” plates or “Trust Women. Respect Choice” plates failed.
And rightfully so a Federal judge ruled the decision to allow only one point of view was wrong.
U.S. District Court Judge James Fox ruled Friday that the state’s attempt to offer “Choose Life” plates only is unconstitutional because it is “viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.”
But one has to sympathize with the Republicans here, after think how hard it must be for them to say they maintain support for the Constitution and not break into snickering laughter.