By Tom Ciesielka
WASHINGTON – Recently, the Thomas More Society filed an amicus brief urging the United States Supreme Court to hear a case involving “Choose Life” license plates, in order to resolve disputes among lower courts over how to treat specialty license plates. The brief is brought on behalf of Choose Life America, Choose Life Wisconsin, and Illinois Choose Life, and urges the Justices to hear the case and uphold broad free speech rights for license plates.
“Every American should have the opportunity to purchase a ‘Choose Life’ license plate,” said Peter Breen, Thomas More Society vice president and senior counsel. “While most states allow a broad range of messages on specialty license plates, the ACLU and its allies have diminished free speech by preventing Americans from obtaining ‘Choose Life’ plates in many states. Because some lower courts have agreed with the ACLU and silenced free speech, we urge the Supreme Court to reaffirm the broad free speech rights of citizens to have the message of their choice on their license plates.”
“Choose Life” license plates are available in 29 states and the District of Columbia, and the revenue they generate benefits adoption-related organizations, including pregnancy care centers that serve mothers in need. North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Illinois are among the states where “Choose Life” plates are not available, either due to inaction by the legislature or court action to suppress the plates.
“It makes no sense that the ‘Choose Life’ specialty plate is upheld by some courts and condemned by others,” added Steve Crampton, Thomas More Society special counsel. “Thousands of drivers wish to purchase ‘Choose Life’ specialty plates in order to express their personal views in favor of an important societal issue, but they are not able to do so because of confusing contradictions in the lower courts. It’s high time that this conflict is resolved once and for all–the forum of specialty plates should include all speech.”