Monthly Archives: January 2006

The "Choose Life" Plate "issue"

Now, I honestly don’t know what all the fuss is about regarding “choose life” plates. I don’t understand how they’re any different from having pro-life bumper stickers or license plate frames.
And that is why this particular article is disturbing. The judge ruled in the case that “choose life” plates are not protected speech, because they could elicit “road rage.” The same argument could easily apply to bumper stickers.
The problem I have with the pro-life side on this matter, though, is like what Rush always says about liberal activists groups: we have a right to free speech. We do not have a right to be heard. There’s a difference. By saying, “We won’t have government-sponsored political license plates,” the government is not censoring free speech.” It’s merely limiting the speech that can be expressed on the license plates it owns.
Let’s say a John Kerry supporter put up a sign in a pro-lifer’s yard. The Kerry supporter might claim, “I’m merely exercising my first amendment right to free speech,” but the landowner has the right to decide what free speech is exercised from his or her property–the Kerry supporter can take his or her sign elsewhere.

Now, if the state in question already has personalized plates with political, moral or religious messages (e.g., Virginia has a “Knights of Columbus” plates, and several plates with animal rights or environmentalist messages), then it is arguably discrimination against a particular viewpoint.

And that brings me to the other point about this particular case: the judge comparing pro-lifers to white supremacists “and other extremist groups”. . . . .