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License Plates: Free Speech?

Discussion in 'Civil and Human Rights' started by Max R., Mar 24, 2015.

  1. Max R.

    Max R. On the road Supporting Member

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    Up for consideration to SCOTUS; vanity license plates.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32023016
    A licence plate displaying the Confederate Flag has sparked a US Supreme Court battle over the right to free speech.....

    .....
    The Sons of Confederate Veterans, sponsors of the controversial plate - went to the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, where they successfully argued that to reject their design was to restrict their right to free speech - protected by the First Amendment.

    The case now stands before the nine Supreme Court justices - who must consider how the rights of constitution apply within these 12-by-6in (30-by-15cm) metal plates.....

    ......
    The state argues it is "fully within its rights to exclude swastikas, sacrilege, and overt racism from state-issued license plates that bear the state's name and imprimatur."


    Opponents say this violates the free speech of the drivers who would select the license plate - a view upheld by the Court of Appeals.

    But the state counters that license plates are government property, on which the government can decide its own message - which would not breach the First Amendment.

    At the heart of this case, then, is a simple question for the Supreme Court justices.

    "Does my licence plate speak for me, or my state?"
     
  2. fairsheet

    fairsheet Senator

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    The "state" has no obligation to provide people with a license-plate forum. If necessary, the easy solution to this one is to simply go back to standard plates for all.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Max R.

    Max R. On the road Supporting Member

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    Correct, the state isn't obligated to provide people vanity license plates, but it is obligated to pay it's bills. At least the Red states seek to pay their bills. In Texas, vanity plates raised over $17M in revenue.

    While one solution to such problems are to deny the solution to all, it's not the optimal solution. Consider gay marriage. There is no right to marriage per se, but the 14th Amendment has the Equal Protection clause necessitating that any rights, privileges or benefits provided by law to married couples must be provide to all...or, as you suggest, eliminate the rights, privileges and benefits to equalize the law for everyone.
     
  4. Jen

    Jen meh

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    Ultimately the license plate speaks for one's state.
    People can find another way to trumpet who they are.........if that way would be inappropriate. JMVHO.
     
  5. Max R.

    Max R. On the road Supporting Member

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    Does the state represent the people or do the people represent the state? Which is more important: the people or the state?
     
  6. Jen

    Jen meh

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    Both.
    But the license plate is a legal thing and legal stuff like that should give the state some say so over what is there on it. Of course I don't know what the law dictates..... and people do have to purchase that plate......... so for me it's an iffy choice either way.
     
  7. Max R.

    Max R. On the road Supporting Member

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    Obviously the state should have "some say so over" it. You know, just like gay marriage, right? One for all, all for one? Or something like "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws"?

    More to the point is this:
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
     
  8. Jen

    Jen meh

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    I guess.
    I just can't imagine someone wanting something racist or obscene on their license plate.
     
  9. Max R.

    Max R. On the road Supporting Member

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    It takes all kinds, Jen. Look at t-shirts in the Mall or bumper stickers on cars.
     
  10. Panhead0422

    Panhead0422 Council Member

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    While I personally don't and would not have something racist or obscene on my license plate, your idea and my idea of the definition of what both are might disagree. For example I might find the idea of gay marriage obscene. Not twenty years ago, it would have been considered obscene (at best). Personally, I could care less whom marries whom. I might find that the idea of a law providing more protection for a citizen based on the color of their skin racist, yet we have hate crime laws based on the color of the victim. Typically, but not necessarily always, those laws are used to provide extra punishments for whites that abuse minorities, but not the other way around.
     
  11. Jen

    Jen meh

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    pulling up posts from 2015?o_O

    [​IMG]

    Racist and obscene have become the norm since then.
     

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