December 6, 2014
The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided to hear a case regarding Confederate flags on license plates, with the broader issue being how much power states have in regulating license plate messages.
Five years ago Texas denied approval of a specialty plate containing a Confederate battle flag surrounded by the phrase “Sons of Confederate Veterans 1896,” for people were butthurt over the flag’s association with evil racist slavery and evil Nazi White supremacist groups.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans sued and won in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. It ruled that license plate messages — other than official mottos such as “Lone Star State” — are free speech and can’t be restricted by the state even if some consider the words offensive.
The federal courts are divided on whether the message on a license plate is strictly government speech — in which case the government has more authority over what is said — or a mixture of government and private speech. Court battles have been fought over messages such as “Choose Life” on license plates.
In the Texas case, the appeals court said the legal test is whether a reasonable observer would understand the message to be an expression of government or private speech. Greg Abbott, the Texas Governor-Elect [a Republican, by the way–ed.], filed court papers as state attorney general urging the court to rule in favor of the state and against the confederate group.
Maybe it’s just me, but free speech is more important than the feeeeelings of Blacks and ignorant Whites. A ruling on the case is expected to come in June 2015, and hopefully it is in favor of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.