(UnitedHeadlines.com) – On July 17, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case which challenged North Carolina‘s decision to not issue specialty license plates featuring an image of the Confederate flag.
In 2021, the North Carolina Department of Transportation sent the North Carolina chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans a letter saying it would not issue or renew specialty license plates that had the image of the Confederate flag or variations of the flag. The letter stated that the license plates could potentially “offend those who view them.”
Alternate artwork for the plates’ design would be considered by the state as long as it did not contain the Confederate flag.
The North Carolina chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans then sued the state of North Carolina after its 2021 decision to stop issuing specialty license plates with the chapter’s insignia. The chapter said the state violated both federal and state law with its decision. The case was dismissed by a lower court, and a federal appeals court upheld the dismissal.
More than 200 specialty license plates as well as three standard license plates are offered in North Carolina. Specialty plates can be created by clubs such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans as long as they meet specific requirements.
In 2015, the Supreme Court heard a similar case from Texas. The Texas chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans unsuccessfully argued that Texas’ decision to not issue specialty license plates featuring the group’s insignia was a violation of the group’s free speech rights under both the Constitution’s First Amendment as well as Texas state law that governs specialty license plates. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that license plates are the property of the state and therefore Texas could limit the content of license plates.
This was one of many cases the Supreme Court declined to hear. The Supreme Court did not say why it declined to hear the case, which is typical when it declines a case.
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