Pro-Life license plates unconstitutional?

A federal judge has determined that North Carolina may not offer “Choose Life” special license plates because the pro-choice view has not been afforded a specialty plate as well.

(MyFox8) — A federal judge has ruled it is unconstitutional for North Carolina to issue pro-life license plates unless the state offers similar plates supporting abortion rights.

U.S. District Court Judge James C. Fox ruled on Friday that North Carolina cannot produce or distribute the “Choose Life” plate.

Judge Fox concluded, “The State’s offering of a Choose Life license plate in the absence of a pro-choice plate constitutes viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.”

The lawsuit was brought by — do you really need to be told? — the ACLU and believes the victory is one for all North Carolinians and free speech.

I await the next lawsuit petitioning to prohibit the pro-military, pro-police etc. plates because anti-government views are not represented.  Declaring unconstitutional a pro-life plate because a pro-choice plate is not available is like saying we can’t have a plate supporting adoption unless we have one supporting abandonment.  No support endangered species plates without pro-poaching plates.

In what way is the ACLU in any degree good for our civil liberties.  More often than not they advocate for restrictions disguised in the name of freedom.  They need to go.


  1. This is ridiculous. Viewpoint discrimination? Does it have to be a completely opposite viewpoint? Isn’t “adopt a pet” an alternate viewpoint? Why does every viewpoint have to be expressed?

    AND, if the first amendment is concerned about government neutrality, wouldn’t it be unconstitutional to pass laws that favor abortion? My viewpoint is not addressed in law! Is there no problem there?


  2. I don’t get this one either. I think this constitutes government officials taking their personal religious views and using their official government position to spread their personal views. It’s an unethical abuse of authority, but then again, I can’t really see a legal argument to stop it. Too obscure. Too hard to pin down. Too nebulous a statement…

  3. I say that if they want to make money from these special license plates, they should put whatever WE want on them! Choose life. Choose hot dogs. Whatever!

    And what about Texas? We had a picture of a cowboy on a horse next to a picture of the space shuttle. How many things run counter to those messages? Anti-space program? Was that license plate unconstitutional? Heck, they were issued to every registered car!

    This is no more that the same old constitutional “findings” that emerge when liberals need them to be there.

  4. Here is my legal analysis: the problem is that by allowing people to advocate on a government license plate, the government has opened a public forum. Once the government opens the forum (under the current understanding of the First Amendment where “Congress” means any government entity, “law” means any government action) the government cannot refuse to allow someone to express a viewpoint. The government is not allowed to censor religious speech or political speech. Unfortunately, the open forum allows ignorant people to demonstrate their ignorance like having license plates that celebrate the slaughter of unborn children.

    I did not read the legal opinion, so I cannot speak to the judge’s reasoning. If he said that the pro-life plates are unconstitutional because the state doesn’t currently have pro-abortion plates, his legal reasoning is wrong. The pro-life speech is not government’s speech but the plate owners’ speech. Just because someone has not spoken on the other side does not take away the right of the pro-life plate owners from speaking.

    If he said the state cannot offer pro-life plates if the government refused to provide pro-abortion plates, he is wrong. The solution to a constitutional violation (not allowing pro-abortion plates) is not to take away the rights of pro-lifers, but to extend the rights of others.

    The solution is to require the state to offer the plates. If he said the government may not refuse to provide pro-abortion plates, he is correct.

    I think abortion is such a heinous, barbaric act of murder that the state has an interest in censoring such speech as against the public interest. But the murder of children in America is legal. Too many people who claim to be countrymen of mine support and protect this heinous barbarism. They are not good people. Good people do not disagree on abortion.

    The real issue, I suspect, is not that the ACLU wants pro-abortion voices heard. They simply want pro-life voices silenced.

    • Dog Tags

      Being only a layman to legalese your assessments ring reasonable and most probably true. But aren’t the consequences of that reasoning, as C2C and I have pointed out, that quite literally every specialty plate deserve a voice at the table? But wouldn’t it also be impossible to run every view seeing as how there are technically an infinite number of counter views to any one view?

    • I disagree with the public interest being served by censoring pro-abortion voices. I think we all must be able to speak. Even though we agree that they are not being good while advocating for the mass slaughter of human beings. We should protect their right to speak, if for no other reason than to be able to show others what evil is.

      But you remind me of another misinterpretation of the first amendment. Public school teachers are not allowed to pray in school. It is said that as agents of government, they may not breach the “separation of church and state”.

      What is missed is that the first amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF. They may not tell the people when or where NOT to exercise their religion.

      They don’t want to hear religion, so they make it illegal by “finding” what is clearly not in the constitution.

      They don’t want to read pro-life messages… so… They “find” something else in the constitution.

      They want abortion, so they “find” the right to privacy in the constitution!

      Why is it that what is repulsive is always protected and what is decent is silenced?

  5. I think the issue is not that every view has to have a license plate, but that when someone requests a plate, the state must allow the viewpoint. The pro-abortion crowd wanted their ignorant viewpoint on a plate like the lie “Respect Choice” (since abortion is neither about respect or choice but about killing children), but the legislature refused to allow it. That is viewpoint discrimination in an open public forum.

    Any sane society would determine it to be barbaric to kill children, but barbarians run the judiciary. Any sane society would say “Of course we don’t want people openly advocating the murder of children” but the barbarians in our society say it’s viewpoint discrimination to deny child murderers a voice on a government license plate.

    • So then, DT, you are saying that literally anyone should be able to require the state offer a plate for whatever cause they want, so long as they offer any cause?

      That’s ridiculous.

  6. Thinking about it further, a judge really does not have the authority to make the legislature do anything, but it may have the authority to enjoin the government from acting. I would argue, however, this single federal judge does not have the legal authority to do either. The state of N.C. is a sovereign entity and is not at the mercy of the federal judiciary, let alone one single federal judge. Only until the N.C. supreme court adopts the federal judge’s opinion should it be binding on the state.

  7. I mean only AFTER the N.C. supreme court adopts the federal judge’s opinion should it be binding on the state.

  8. I agree with the courts ruling, John. It’s not fair. We’d be just as pissed if California had pro-choice plates but not pro-life ones. And I oppose such political license plates anyway. Politics, religion, and matters of morality do not belong on a license plate.

    • T

      When you put it that way, I can understand that. I’m not sure how I’d react though. Perhaps I’d be calling for the pro-life view to be represented, but I don’t know that I’d call it unconstitutional. I’d probably call it unfair, but we arent promised fairness. I’d like to think I’d prefer to petition the state to have my view included, not to have the other taken away. But I don’t know not being in that situation.

      Good point though.

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