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Old Dec 11, 2012, 08:24 AM   #1
GoCubsGo
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Judge finds NC 'Choose Life' plates unconstitutional

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge has ruled that North Carolina's decision to issue special anti-abortion license plates is unconstitutional because the state doesn't offer similar plates supporting abortion rights.

U.S. District Court Judge James Fox ruled on Friday that the state's attempt to offer only the “Choose Life” plates represents "viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment."

Fox last year blocked the state from issuing the plates while a suit by the American Civil Liberties Union was pending.

Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU's North Carolina Legal Foundation, said the case is about free speech, not abortion.

"The problem here is the lack of balance," Brook said. "It's a First Amendment issue. If you're going to have this government avenue for private speech, you need to allow speech on both sides of the political debate to occur."

North Carolina lawmakers authorized the "Choose Life" plate in 2011, with a portion of the proceeds from sales of the plates earmarked for a nonprofit that supports crisis pregnancy centers. The law prohibited money from the plates from going to any group that promoted abortion.
Article Link: http://www.wral.com/judge-finds-nc-c...onal/11861952/

My own opinion is that they either allow both sides to be represented or no sides and those who wish to advertise their views can buy a variety of bumper stickers. I thought the fact that the state offered them was odd in the first place and that the state passed off some of the proceeds onto crisis pregnancy centers while they openly refused the opposition to "Choose Life" plates.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 08:30 AM   #2
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All this is moot as who would buy plates with 'Choose Death'
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 08:31 AM   #3
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Missouri has those stupid plates too, but no pro choice ones either. Hopefully the ruling applies outside of NC too.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 08:32 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Happybunny View Post
All this is moot as who would buy plates with 'Choose Death'
'Choose choice'... which somewhat sounds redundant.... it's almost a train noise. 'Choo choo!'

I'm glad their judge flipped this. It was kind of silly to not allow both sides. But I think these things should remain as bumper stickers and not be integrated into plates.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 08:42 AM   #5
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I'd worry about having my windows smashed in if my car had a pro-choice license plate in one of those states. Some of the anti-abortion folk have been known to get rather violent.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 09:12 AM   #6
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 09:31 AM   #7
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Will be interesting to see the actual language of the ruling... it appears to me that this is also a matter of sending a political message through a public medium if you will... that doesn't rub right with me. I would have the same problem if it was a liberal message... say I don't know "hug a tree & carpool".
I suspect this is the issue the judge found unconstitutional:

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Meanwhile, lawmakers defeated various amendments to the bill that created the "Choose Life" plate that would have also authorized plates that would have stated “Trust Women. Respect Choice” or “Respect Choice.”
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 09:35 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by AhmedFaisal View Post
I would have the same problem if it was a liberal message... say I don't know "hug a tree & carpool".
In Texas we have what seems to be a few hundred different plates featuring all kinds of causes. I never really thought (or cared) about whether opposing viewpoints are represented.

If this judge's order is allowed to stand, I could see it opening up a can of worms on several fronts. For example, we have a "Stop Child Abuse" plate. Do we need to offer a "Support Child Abuse" plate, so that both sides are represented? We also have "God Bless America." Are they going to make us offer "God Curse America" to represent the opposing view?

These plates are completely optional. No reason to get in a tizzy about whether both "sides" are represented.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 09:55 AM   #9
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 10:03 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by AhmedFaisal View Post
Stop Child Abuse - here we are talking about helping prevent an illegal activity so there is no tenable opposing position

God Bless America - Rather than your position one could argue against it on the same grounds as why people argue that "under God" should be stricken from the pledge of allegiance.
Apparently my use of hyperbole wasn't effective. My intent was to show how ridiculous it was on the part of the judge to insist that both sides of an issue must be represented here. Is anybody seriously going to put a license plate on their vehicle that says "Choose Death" or "Choose Abortion?"

The ACLU's wish that "you need to allow speech on both sides of the political debate to occur" isn't violated in either case. Nobody is restricting the rights of those who do "choose death" to speak up in favor of it; just because one side speaks up doesn't mean the other side can't.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 10:07 AM   #11
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Why can't people just stay out of women's vaginae?
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 10:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomorrow View Post
Apparently my use of hyperbole wasn't effective. My intent was to show how ridiculous it was on the part of the judge to insist that both sides of an issue must be represented here. Is anybody seriously going to put a license plate on their vehicle that says "Choose Death" or "Choose Abortion?"

The ACLU's wish that "you need to allow speech on both sides of the political debate to occur" isn't violated in either case. Nobody is restricting the rights of those who do "choose death" to speak up in favor of it; just because one side speaks up doesn't mean the other side can't.
Except that, as elistan's post above points out, the lawmaker's wouldn't permit pro-choice license plates. Thus suppressing free speech.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 10:22 AM   #13
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 10:30 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Tomorrow View Post
In Texas we have what seems to be a few hundred different plates featuring all kinds of causes. I never really thought (or cared) about whether opposing viewpoints are represented.

If this judge's order is allowed to stand, I could see it opening up a can of worms on several fronts. For example, we have a "Stop Child Abuse" plate. Do we need to offer a "Support Child Abuse" plate, so that both sides are represented? We also have "God Bless America." Are they going to make us offer "God Curse America" to represent the opposing view?

These plates are completely optional. No reason to get in a tizzy about whether both "sides" are represented.
"Support Child Abuse" would advocate illegal behavior, so no, it shouldn't be allowed IMO.

"God Curse America" is perfectly legal. Unpopular, but not illegal, so it should be allowed IMO. It shouldn't be offered by default, though - only if a specific group requests such a plate. If a non-profit group promoting science teams up with some State agency and submits a "Science. It works." or "4.54 billion years and counting." plate, then yes, it should be allowed IMO. If a gun-control or gun-advocacy non-profit wanted a plate of their own, it should be allowed.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 10:45 AM   #15
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Missouri has those stupid plates too, but no pro choice ones either. Hopefully the ruling applies outside of NC too.
License plates with political opinions embedded do seem inherently unconstitutional, and, unconstitutional or not, are a dumb idea.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 10:47 AM   #16
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One issue that gets overlooked is that some of these plates actually include a donation to the designated cause, such as scholarship funds for university plates, spay/neuter fund for the animal lovers plates or support for various foundations. One might get the idea that a "Choose Life" plate would include money going to that particular cause (though it could not).
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 11:08 AM   #17
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This somewhat contradicts a ruling in Indiana around a year ago. Indiana offered a free plate design that had "In God We Trust" on it, but there were no other religious alternatives. According to Indiana, that's legal.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 11:25 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Sydde View Post
One issue that gets overlooked is that some of these plates actually include a donation to the designated cause, such as scholarship funds for university plates, spay/neuter fund for the animal lovers plates or support for various foundations. One might get the idea that a "Choose Life" plate would include money going to that particular cause (though it could not).
It does according to the article.

Last piece of what jessica. quoted.

Quote:
North Carolina lawmakers authorized the "Choose Life" plate in 2011, with a portion of the proceeds from sales of the plates earmarked for a nonprofit that supports crisis pregnancy centers. The law prohibited money from the plates from going to any group that promoted abortion.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 11:26 AM   #19
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I think it's unfair that the state issues any of these at all. It favors some organizations, which can get the plates made, over others that aren't able to lobby for it or don't have the size.

Keep this stuff out of government.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 11:55 AM   #20
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On the subject, I was looking over Missouri's list of specialty plates to see if something piqued my interest, and apparently this state offers "Don't Tread On Me" plates now. Wondering where the "I am the 99%" plates are

And as a Cardinals fan, I find this note on the Kansas City Royals plate amusing: Removed 8/28/2007 no applications received in 5 years

Edit: Still going down the list. We have NRA plates too. How lovely.
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 12:14 PM   #21
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We have a Choose Life plate here in Florida. Haven't heard anyone complain about it. But we have many different plates here that are special interest like Boy Scouts, In God We Trust oh and even an Hispanic Achievers one. I honestly don't see what the problem is.

Here is a full list.
http://www.flhsmv.gov/html/tagbrochure.pdf
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 12:16 PM   #22
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This somewhat contradicts a ruling in Indiana around a year ago. Indiana offered a free plate design that had "In God We Trust" on it, but there were no other religious alternatives. According to Indiana, that's legal.
Did somebody attempt to get a "In Science We Trust" plate and have their request denied?
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 12:20 PM   #23
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Can we get some plates that say "Stay the **** out of my personal life"??
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 12:38 PM   #24
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I hate all these plates. I am fine with different graphics being produced (although even that gets a little confusing as you can no longer tell what state a plate belongs to at a glance). But at some point, merely a beach scene or whatever morphed into political activism...whales, forest, abortion....it's just too much and something I do not think belongs on a license plate. Save that for a bumper sticker. Just my 2 cents.
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