Surely the state would be justified in rejecting a license plate with a swastika. Difference in opinion over the Confederate flag has made people second guess what… I. Walker argues that Texas is permitted to determine the content of state-issued license plates under the government-speech doctrine. Up to this point, the words on the Texas plates can be considered government speech. See For example, Walker explains that Texas will have to issue license plates against stopping child abuse and opposing if it issues plates supporting the prevention of child abuse and in support of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The Court believes that messages on privately created plates are government speech because motorists want a seal of state approval for their messages and therefore prefer plates over bumper stickers. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board or Board invited public comments and considered the plate design at a meeting in April 2011.
On appeal, a divided panel of the Fifth Circuit reversed. Justia Annotations is a forum for attorneys to summarize, comment on, and analyze case law published on our site. That dual purpose is confusing to think about, but it's also legally hazardous. Do not send any information that you would have treated confidentially. Walker further contends that Texas will have to issue opposing license plates to currently-approved and circulating license plates in order to comply with viewpoint neutrality. But the broader question extends past the Confederate flag to several other issues. Rector and Visitors of Univ.
The variety of available plates is limitless, too. In 1925, the year of issue was added, and the State began issuing plates that identified certain vehicle types, e. Texas offers vehicle owners a va-riety of specialty plates, generally for an annual fee. Dec 12 2014 Consent to the filing of amicus curiae briefs, in support of either party or of neither party, received from counsel for petitioners. See ante, at 11 citing Reply Brief 10 and Tr. Texas cannot forbid private speech based on its viewpoint.
Often large and made of stone, monuments can last for centuries and are difficult to move. By browsing our site with cookies enabled, you are agreeing to their use. After considering the responses, including a number of letters sent by elected officials who opposed the proposal, the Board voted unanimously against issuing the plate. Stentiford, A Moving History 56 2004 Minard. In holding that hundreds of specialty license plate designs, created at the request and expense of private individuals and groups, are government speech and thus unprotected by the Free Speech Clause, 3 × 3. Other States allow specialty plates with the Confederate Battle Flag, and Texas has not pointed to evidence that these plates have led to incidents of road rage or accidents.
See , in Support of Respondents at 19—23. Each plate is a government article serving the governmental purposes of vehicle registration and identification. As we said in Summum, governments have used monuments since time immemorial to express important government messages, and there is no history of governments giving equal space to those wishing to express dissenting views. It was therefore clear that private parties, and not only the government, used the system to communicate. The Court says that all of these messages are government speech.
It has allowed state property i. Nor is this case like Lehman, where we found the advertising space on city buses to be a nonpublic forum. The contrast between the history of public monuments, which have been used to convey government messages for centuries, and the Texas license plate program could not be starker. Texas rejected the design on the ground that many members of the general public reasonably find the design offensive. Finally, Texas law provides for personalized plates also knownas vanity plates.
The Board thus reconsidered the plate at its meeting in November 2011. When categories are referenced, examples from the category have been included. But the individual prefers a license plate design to the purely private speech expressed through bumper stickers. What laws are more important, freedom of speech or flag desecration laws? This capacious understanding of government speech takes a large and painful bite out of the. To the opponents of both plates, the images on the plates evoked painful memories. Justice Breyer was joined by Justices Thomas, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Facts of Case Gregory Johnson joined a protest in Dallas, Texas during the 1984 Republican Convention.
This case is relevant because that fundraising would constitute a forum. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the license plates were government speech and that Texas was thus free to control their content. The content of those plates treasonous or otherwise is irrelevant. Constitutional and statutory provisions outside of the Free Speech Clause may limit government speech. Specialty plates may seem innocuous. But it need not issue plates promoting al Qaeda.
A district court upheld the decision, but the appeals panel reversed it. First, history shows that States, including Texas, have long used license plates to convey government speech, e. Response due September 8, 2014 Aug 26 2014 Order extending time to file response to petition to and including October 8, 2014. Gey, Why Should the First Amendment Protect Government Speech When the Government Has Nothing to Say? These considerations, taken together, convince us that the specialty plates here in question are similar enough to the monuments in Summum to call for the same result. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions. After the beginning of motor vehicle registration in 1917, more than 70 years passed before the proliferation of specialty plates in Texas.