Symbol Wars

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that North Carolina can have a license plate that says “Choose Life” without also offering an abortion advocacy statement. This is a reversal of an earlier decision that the plate represented “blatant viewpoint discrimination and was squarely at odds with the First Amendment.” Reconsideration came at the request of the US Supreme Court due to a later ruling that license plates were government speech.

At least this is consistent with other license plates offered. I mean, there are plates for “Animal Lovers,” “Ducks Unlimited,” “NC Horse Council,” “NC Wildlife Habitat Foundation,” “Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation,” “Save the Turtle,” and “Wildlife Resources.” None of those are countered with calls to kill, just as there are no calls to kill any of the various university alumni, shriners, or vets. There is even a “Donate Life” design. Then, there are a couple trout license plates that appear to want to save the trout to kill the trout. That doesn’t muddy the waters, though; again there is no counter statement.

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