The Supreme Court will review whether Texas’s rejection of a proposed license plate featuring the Confederate flag violated the free speech rights of the group that wanted the special plates.
Courts are divided over whether government may choose among the political messages requested for state-issued plates or whether such messages should be recognized as the speech of the motorist and entitled to more protection.
A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit said Texas officials were wrong to turn down a request from the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The requested plate would have featured the group’s logo: a Confederate battle flag framed on all four sides by the words “Sons of Confederate Veterans 1896.”
The Supreme Court said Friday it will decide whether states that issue specialty license plates must include potentially controversial ones with Confederate battle flags or abortion-related messages.
At issue is whether the 1st Amendment's protection for the freedom of speech put limits on the range and type of messages displayed on these state-issued plates. Judges have been divided over whether these license plates are seen as carrying the state's message or instead expressing the private views of the motorist.