Federal judge says N.C.’s ‘Choose Life’ license plates are unconstitutional

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December 11, 2012 By: Angel Clark

A federal judge in North Carolina ruled Friday that the state’s anti-abortion license plates are unconstitutional. U.S. District Court Judge James Fox ruled that North Carolina’s “Choose Life” plates represent “viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment” because the state doesn’t offer a similar type of license plate supporting abortion rights. Last year the state was blocked from issuing the “Choose Life” plates while a lawsuit was pending from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Chris Brook, the legal director for the North Carolina ACLU, stated that the issue was 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.”

The Republican-led legislature had, according to Rep. Mitch Gillespie, had been attempting to get state sponsored “Choose Life” plates for 14 years. Judge Fox’s ruling has sparked criticism from pro-life advocates who claim that this ruling may mean the state must now offer a “Kill The Sea Turtles” license plate to counter the “Save The Sea Turtles” one. Read More

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