(Fox News)

Federal judge rules "Choose Life" license plates unconstitutional

It is "viewpoint discrimination" for North Carolina to only offer an antiabortion plate, the judge wrote


Jillian Rayfield
December 12, 2012 1:55AM (UTC)

A federal judged has banned North Carolina from issuing "Choose Life" license plates, ruling that it is unconstitutional for the state not to offer a pro-choice alternative.

U.S. District Judge James C. Fox wrote in his ruling that "The State's offering a Choose Life license plate in the absence of a pro-choice alternative constitutes viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment."

Advertisement:

Reuters reports:

The ACLU filed a lawsuit in September 2011 after state legislators approved the "Choose Life" plate but refused to authorize voluntary license plates with abortion rights slogans such as "Respect Choice."

The anti-abortion plate was one of approximately 70 new specialty plates approved by the Republican-led legislature and signed into law by Democratic Governor Bev Perdue in June 2011.

"This is a great victory for the free speech rights of all North Carolinians, regardless of their point of view on reproductive freedom," said Chris Brook of the ACLU, CNN reports. "The government cannot create an avenue of expression for one side of a contentious political issue while denying an equal opportunity to citizens with the opposite view."

State Rep. Mitch Gillespie, the Republican who sponsored the bill for the license plates, said he would appeal Judge Fox's ruling.


Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

MORE FROM Jillian Rayfield

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Abortion Anti-abortion Movement "choose Life" North Carolina Pro-choice

BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••






Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •