SCOTUS on NC's Confederate License Plate Case: Nope

Court previously ruled that Texas was within its rights to stop issuing the plates
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 12, 2023 11:44 AM CDT
SCOTUS Not Touching NC's Confederate License Plate Case
The Supreme Court is seen on April 21 in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

The Supreme Court said Monday it won't review North Carolina's decision to stop issuing specialty license plates with the Confederate flag. As is typical, the court didn't comment in declining to hear the case, which challenged the state's decision. The dispute was one of many the court said Monday it wouldn't hear, notes the AP. It was similar to a case originating in Texas that the court heard in 2015, when it ruled the license plates are state property. The current dispute stems from North Carolina's 2021 decision to stop issuing specialty license plates bearing the insignia of the North Carolina chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The chapter sued, claiming that the state's decision violated state and federal law. A lower court dismissed the case, and a federal appeals court agreed with that decision.

North Carolina offers three standard license plates and more than 200 specialty plates. Civic clubs including the Sons of Confederate Veterans can create specialty plates by meeting specific requirements. In 2021, however, the state Department of Transportation sent the group a letter saying it would "no longer issue or renew specialty license plates bearing the Confederate battle flag or any variation of that flag" because the plates "have the potential to offend those who view them." The state said it would consider alternate artwork for the plates' design if it doesn't contain the Confederate flag. The organization unsuccessfully argued that the state's decision violated its free speech rights under the Constitution's First Amendment and state law governing specialty license plates.

(Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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