State Capitol News
Mon October 6, 2008
Court upholds pro-life license plates
By Howard Fischer
Phoenix, AZ – The U-S Supreme Court today wiped out the last legal hurdle for
anti-abortion groups to get their own special state license
plates to put on their cars and trucks. Arizona Public Radio's
Howard Fischer explains.
The Arizona Life Coalition applied to the state license plate
commission six years ago for special plates with the message --
choose life. State law lets the commission issue these plates to
help groups publicize their cause and raise money. But commission
members refused this request, calling the message too
controversial. That argument was rejected by a federal appeals
court and, now, the nation's high court. Peter Gentala, attorney
for the Center for Arizona Policy, called the ruling significant.
(The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recognized that pro-life speech
is protected by the First Amendment, just like any other form of
speech. And that's really what they said in their ruling. And the
Supreme Court decided not to change that ruling. So that's going
to be the governing law.)
The ruling now allows other organizations with a controversial
message to get their own license plates -- including pro-choice
groups. Gentala said that's fine with him.
(An organization that pursues its mission with a perspective
that's not pro life should be entitled to have a plate just like
an organization that is pro life.)
So far, though, Planned Parenthood has shown no interest in
getting its own plate.
For Arizona Public Radio, this is Howard Fischer.