Florida Specialty License Plates Online
The Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans sued members of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board in Austin three years ago after its application for a specialty license plate was deemed potentially offensive.
A group made up of male descendants of Confederate veterans, the SCV describes its mission as honoring and keeping "alive the memory of the Confederacy and the principles for which Confederates fought, thus giving the world an understanding and appreciation of the Southern people and their brave history."
The proposed license-plate design included the organization's name and its seal bearing the Confederate battle flag. SCV argued that nine other states, all of them Southern, issued similar license plates.
Noting that the board had accepted a request for plates honoring the Buffalo Soldiers, even though they were "offensive to Native Americans because the all-black cavalry helped fight Native Americans in the Indian Wars from 1867-1888," SCV also argued that the rejection of its proposal amounted to viewpoint bias.
A federal judge sided with the state, granting it summary judgment and ruling the board had made a reasonable, content-based regulation of private speech - as opposed to public speech by the government.
In a 2-1 reversal Monday, the 5th Circuit deemed the rejection "impermissible viewpoint discrimination" that violated the group's free speech rights, in refusing to issue specialty license plates with the Confederate battle flag.