Loading
Pro-life victory in the ninth circuit

.- The License Plate Commission of the state of Arizona violated free-speech rights when it refused to issue specialty license plates with the motto, “Choose Life,” the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled on Monday.

According to the appeals court’s ruling, in 2002, the Arizona-based Life Coalition, a non-profit group that provides care for those considering abortion or affected by abortion, submitted an application to the license plate commission for a plate that would display the Coalition’s logo and the words, “Choose Life.” Members of the commission, however, said they were concerned that approving the specialty plate would make it appear that Arizona endorsed the pro-life message. The commission delayed acting on Life Coalition’s request.

In 2003, when Life Coalition’s chairman, Gary Paisley, asked the commission what requirements his group failed to meet, the commission denied the application by a voice vote. When Paisley asked for an explanation for the denial, the commission’s chair, Stacey Stanton, said, “the action of the Commission is final.” Stanton said she did not believe “now is an opportunity for…further debate, or for further info that [Life Coalition] could put on additional applications.”

Life Coalition filed suit in Arizona federal court against the state, but the judge ruled that, since it issues license plates, the state has the right to control their content.

In the 3-0 Ninth Circuit ruling in favor of Life Coalition, however, Judge Richard Tallman said that messages on specialty plates are not public but private speech. “Life Coalition controlled the message of its special organization plate, and the individual members who choose to purchase the plate voluntarily choose to disperse that message,” wrote Tallman. Because such messages are private speech, the government cannot deny an application for a specialty plate because it opposes a message.

The ninth circuit’s ruling establishes new legal standards for federal courts in California and eight other western states.

California formerly allowed specialty license plates. Approved groups benefited from fees paid on their specialty plates, minus state expenses. Various groups, such as coastal protection, Yosemite National Park, and 9-11 victims groups have been approved for the state’s specialty license plate program. Pro-life groups, however, were not approved

After repeated refusals by the California legislature to approve “Choose Life” specialty plates, the Women's Resource Network, a non-profit that promotes adoption over abortion, brought suit against the state in a Sacramento federal court. In 2004, U.S. district court judge Garland Burrell, Jr. declared the entire state specialty license plate program unconstitutional. The section of state law giving the legislature the discretion to decide which non-profits would benefit from bills authorizing license plates, said Burrell, violated the First Amendment, since the law lays down no standard by which the judgment would be made.

California to date has not established a new specialty license plate program.

Printed with permission from California Catholic Daily.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

A state without territory elects new government
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Papal Foundation Pilgrimage
Jul
24

Liturgical Calendar

July 24, 2014

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:10-17

Gospel
Date
07/24/14
07/23/14
07/20/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 2: 1-3, 7-8, 12-13
Gospel:: Mt 13: 10-17

Saint of the Day

St. Charbel Makhlouf »

Saint
Date
07/23/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 13:10-17

Homily
Date
07/24/14
07/23/14
07/21/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: