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Speak Out
Is a license plate a form of political speech?

By Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writer

State-issued license plates with a special image or message that promote a team affiliation, organization or a cause have landed on the Supreme Court docket. The question: Is a license plate a form of political speech?

The case centers on the refusal of the state of Texas’ Department of Motor Vehicles to allow the group Sons of Confederate Veterans to have a government-issued license plate with its logo because it features the Confederate flag.

The board of the Texas DMV said that “a significant portion of the public associate the Confederate flag with organizations advocating expressions of hate directed toward people or groups that is demeaning to those people or groups.”

The Sons of Confederate Veterans believed its First Amendment right to political expression had been violated, and sued the DMV. A federal district judge found in favor of the DMV.

The decision was reversed by an appeals court panel, which ruled 2-1 that the DMV board had discriminated against the group. The Sons of Confederate Veterans viewed “the Confederate flag is a symbol of sacrifice, independence, and Southern heritage,” Judge Edward C. Prado wrote. Prado acknowledged that some might find the license plate offensive, but that the plate is a reflection of the motorist’s political views, not the state’s.

Judge Jerry Smith challenged this decision in a dissent. He wrote that the state’s approval of the imagery on the plate meant that the state was acknowledging or endorsing a particular group. “It follows that the law allows Texas to choose whether it wishes its name to be associated with any criticism associated with the Confederate flag – whether it wishes the state to be linked to that flag wherever Texas cars are driven,” Smith said.

This isn’t the only case regarding special state-issued license plates and freedom of speech. A federal appeals court has ruled that the state of North Carolina could not issue “Choose Life” plates because it refused to issue license plates with a message that advocates the right to an abortion.

John McConnell, attorney for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, argues that when a state chooses to have special license plates, it cannot forbid any organization from using license plates to promote its group or ideology. “When the state gets in the business of selling space … for an organization or nonprofit or what have you, they cannot discriminate,” he said. “They’re a government entity, not a private entity. They are constrained by the First Amendment.”

The state of Texas argues that discretion is needed when it decides whether to allow special license plates because a message could be interpreted as state endorsement. “The notion that the Constitution requires states to maintain viewpoint neutrality when deciding whether to issue specialty license plates is unworkable and leads to absurdities,” the state said in its petition to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans in the spring.

What do you think?

Are license plates a form of political speech? Should the Texas DMV allow the Sons of Confederate Veterans plate to be issued? Should imagery that some find offensive not be allowed on license plates? Is a message or image on a vanity license plate a form of state endorsement? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!
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Comments
5/18/2018
murrieta/ca
leslie
jabro/mca
i feel you should have whatever you please on your license plate. its yours isnt it? whether political or not its free speech

5/7/2018
Murrieta/CA
Roxanne
Jabro/MCA
In my opinion, I think you should do whatever you want with your license plate. It's your car and you're paying for it anyways, also of course it cant be violent but just put whatever.

4/25/2018
Murrieta
Megan
Jabro/MCA
In my opinion, the state should not allow different pictures on license plates. Although it doesn't necessarily mean that they endorse the group, I think all license plates should have the background originally chosen by the state. These usually include symbols of the state that they are made in. For example, I don't think CA should issue the license plate with the whale in it. I like the uniformity of normal plates.

12/14/2017
murrieta
Marie Duron
Jabro/mca
Honestly why even ask this question? This is a subject thats really being brought up, yet no one really cares about what your License Plate says or shows or anything . If we pay for it then it should have what we paid for on our License plate.

12/12/2017
mca
porsha cook
mr jabro
I think people should be able to put whatever they want on there licence plate because they are paying for what they want on there car so it should be able to say what they want it to say. A picture or vanity that you put are strictly only toward the owner of the vehicle.

11/28/2017
Murrieta/CA
Velmaaaaa
Jabro/MCA
I think you should be able to put whatever you want on your license plate as long as its not violent.

11/17/2017
Murrieta
Justin
Jabro/MCA
I think you should be able to have whatever you want on your license plate whether it's political or not. It's free speech and when you stop that it goes against the 1st amendment.

10/26/2017
murrieta
kendall
jabro mca
i think if you want your license plate to be a form of political speech then it can be and its part of freedom of speech so its allowed

10/24/2017
Montana
Peytan
North Star HS
In a way, license plates could be a form of political speech, but not necessarily always on purpose. Having a specific design, message, or picture on your license plate is a form of freedom of speech which is protected by the First Amendment. I think your license plate is a interesting way to show your views on anything from sports teams to your state.

9/18/2017
Sidney/ MT
Troy
Mr. Faulhaber/ Sidney High School
Having a a specific design and or a specific message on your licence plate is free speech and is protected under the First Amendment. People are allowed to put whatever they want on their licence plate as long as it it registered.

4/18/2017
murrieta
zoe maldonado
jabro MCA
I think that it shouldn't be allowed. People are so caught up with supporting this and that but when it comes down to actually being there they wont be. They'll pile up excuses and bail last minute. I think they should just get rid of the whole custom license fiasco. Its a way to express yourself? No just another excuse to be obnoxious. If you want to support what you stand for go buy t-shirt or make poster and tape to your front door whatever how ever you support it is your job. There is a limit to how far you should go supporting something going public is to far. The Texas DMV should not allow it.

4/4/2017
Murrieta/California
Owen
Mr.Jabro
I agree with the first judgement, that it should not be allowed. The first Amendment right for freedom of Speech is being stretched so thin. Everyone crying that there rights are being taken or restricted. When in reality their being made to think about others. Your freedom of speech is taken when you are not allowed to voice your opinions openly. The Sons of Confederate Veterans are being careless and have a hidden agenda/meaning behind there choice. This case should not have made it as far as it did.

9/16/2016
Sidney, MT
Lexi
Mr. Faulhaber
If our nation started getting rid of/ not allowing certain things because they might "offend" someone then what exactly would we have left? It's 2016 and you can't do or say anything without offending someone. If someone wants to represent what they believe in then why don't we let them?? How can our government pick and choose when they want to play the Freedom of Speech card and when they want to claim something violates that right? There will always be a group or individual that believes in something that you don't but that doesn't mean that they have fewer right than you. So in conclusion, no, the Texas DMV has no right to ban the Sons of Confederate Veterans plate.

3/16/2016
Stroudsburg,PA
Zoe
Mr.Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I agree with the statement that license plates are a form of political speech. Some license plates represent the person but in this case with the Sons of Confederate Veterans, with the Confederate flag, some might be offended by it. People should be able to have certain rights to when it comes to their license plates but representing a certain group or religion should not be allowed. An image on a vanity license plate is a state endorsement but not in every situation. Some images will offend people and others will not.

3/16/2016
Stroudsburg,PA
Zoe
Mr.Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I agree with the statement that license plates are a form of political speech. Some license plates represent the person but in this case with the Sons of Confederate Veterans, with the Confederate flag, some might be offended by it. People should be able to have certain rights to when it comes to their license plates but representing a certain group or religion should not be allowed. An image on a vanity license plate is a state endorsement but not in every situation. Some images will offend people and others will not.

3/16/2016
Stroudsburg, PA
Umu
Mr. Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I think that a license plate isn't a form of speech. I say that the Texas DMV should allow the Sons of Confederate veterans plate. I don't think they should put imaging on license plate because some people will get offended by it. I do think that it is a state endorsement.

3/15/2016
MurrietaCA
Trevor
Mr.J/Creekside High
Licenese plate like many other thing can be customisable to what the owner wants. Like tshirts license plates can represent what the owner believes in or represents what the person is apart of. If that is taken away then freedom of speech might as well be taken away.

3/15/2016
Stroudsburg, PA
Dallas
Mr. Hannah/Stroudsburg JHS
Yes license plates are a form of political speech. No the Texas DMV shouldn't allow the sons of Confederate veterans plate because the Confederate flag is banned from the U S. due to racism. Yes some imagery that some people may find offensive should not be allowed cause your offending other people. Yes some messages or images are a form of state endorsement. Some people get offended by certain things and people should not want to offend other people.

3/15/2016
Stroudsburg,PA
Lauryn
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I do not think that a license plate is a form of speech. I think that the Texas dmv should let them but the confederate flag on their license plate. I feel that you should not put any imaging on license plate because it can be very affensive to many people and I feel that people should not be able to put a picture or image on their license plate it is not needed. I believe that if the states approves the vanity licenses plate then it is approving it to say whatever it wants to say and they are not not for it. So I think it is a state endorsement

1/5/2016
Sidney Mt
Nang
Mr. Faulhaber/ Sidney High School
I do believe that having state issued license plate with a special image or logo is a form of free speech. The first amendment gives us the right to free speech and having the license plate is just the citizens exercising their rights. In my opinion if you don’t like pro-abortion messages, the confederate flag, or any controversial subjects, you should exercise your right to free speech to obtain a license plate that represents your values.

1/5/2016
Sidney Montana
Marlee
Mr.Faulhaber
I don't believe license plates are political speech. While sometimes they might convey one, license plates mostly just represent the person who picked it or where they are from. Personally I don’t think Texas DMV shouldn't allow the Sons of Confederate Veterans plate to be issued. The image is quiet offensive to some people. I understand understood that even unpopular opinions should be protected but if a "Choose Life" cannot be chosen because “Choose Abortion” cannot be chosen then their plate should not be allowed either unless there is one against it allowed. Either all custom plates can have what they want or there just should be one main plate and no custom plates at all.

1/5/2016
Sidney, Montana
Cyrus
Mr.Faulhaber/ Sidney High School
I think you should be allowed to have whatever you want on your liscense plates because it is an expression of your own personal veiws. If people find your political view offensive then they should look the other way, and if people are to start being restricted on what the have on their liscense plate then the government is taking away your first amendment rights.

1/5/2016
Sidney, Montana
Blaine
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
When I see a license plate, I often use the image on it as a reference for what life is like or what is common in that state. I would not be surprised to see a confederate flag on a license plate from Texas. However, I do not connect the state's government to the imagery on the license plate. The owner of the vehilce is the one who decides what they want on it, and the state doesn't have to endorse it or support it. The state only has to let the people support what they believe.

1/5/2016
Sidney/Montana
Desirae
Mr. Faulhaber
I believe that not letting the Sons of Confederate Veterans keep their special state issued license because it conveys something that is unpopular is unfair. No one should be aloud to have special license plates than. The first amendment protects our rights to freedom of expression and political speech. The Sons of Confederate Veterans are just trying to support their symbol, just like how others support their favorite team. They are not trying to start fights. The confederate flag does not just symbolize slavery.

1/5/2016
Sidney/Montana
Austin
Mr. Faulhaber/ Sidney High School
I believe that license plates are a form of political speech. The Texas DMV should be allowed to issue the plates with the Confederate flags on it to the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The license plate can show a person's opinion or view on something. People could find this offensive but not everyone buys it for offensive reasoning. The Confederate flag can show someone's heritage and they can show it as they want. I believe this should be a form of political speech because a person can burn a flag as political speech so why can't someone have a license plate for political speech as well?

1/5/2016
Sidney MT
Braxten
Mr. Faulhaber Sidney High School
I believe license plates should be a form of protected political speech. The plate is just another way of a person expressing their own opinion and view points. The confederate flag on a license plate should fall into this category of protected speech. The group is not intentionally trying to offend anyone but simply expressing the group they are apart in. If the state has already allowed other groups to put logos on their plates, than they cannot discriminate against this group.

1/5/2016
Sidney, Montana
Coleton
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
Here's a thought: why don't we just do away with personalized license plates entirely? We could circulate them out of use like we do money. Obviously this nation cannot have nice things like that because all it does is cause dispute between the offensive and the offended. The government does not want to side with viewpoints, which is extremely necessary when keeping the 1st Amendment intact. So let them keep neutrality and do away with flashy, vanity license plates.

1/5/2016
Sidney/Montana
Mattie
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I think license plates can be a form of political speech. I think that the Texas DMV should allow the Sons of Confederate Veterans plate be issued because even though it might be offensive to some people, they shouldn’t be denied the right to have one. Imagery can be depicted in so many ways, that it is sometimes hard to find what is offensive and what isn’t. People all have different opinions on things. I think that in some occasions what people have on their licenses plates do represent their state, but I think that they shouldn’t be denied the right to have it on there.

1/5/2016
Sidney High School
Brianna
Mr. Faulhaber
I believe that license plates are a form of political speech. According to the First Amendment, a person has the right to free speech even if its different from what the government believes. Therefore, there should be no restrictions on what is said on license plates. If a person wants a confederate flag on their license plate, which is no different from flying one in their front yard, they have the right to have it. The Texas DMV should allow the Sons of Confederate Veterans plate to be issued.

1/5/2016
Sidney/ MT
Harmonie
Mr. Faulhaber/ Sidney High School
I believe that license plates would be considered a form of speech. There is no place in the Constitution where it would discriminate against forming your own license plate. The First Amendment states that we have freedom of speech, which includes symbolic speech. Wouldn't you consider a license plate symbolic speech? There is a perk to people having personalize their license plate, it's easier to find their vehicle in the case of a stolen car, or in the case of a hit and run. Those types of license plates are the ones you never seem to forget, so they would be useful in the case of finding a person.

1/5/2016
Sidney/ Montana
Skyler
Mr. Faulhaber/ Sidney High School
If this were my case to argue, I would undoubtedly argue until I had proved that custom plates are a form of expression, and isn't that what the First Amendment is getting at? Aren't speech and religion also forms of expression? How about y'all realize this and go along with it.

1/5/2016
Sidney, Montana
Hunter
Mr. Faulhaber/ Sidney High School
I do believe that license plates are a form of political speech. No group should be denied the option of a government issued license plate, because of what is on it. There have been other groups that have had made their own license plate and were not told no. It is the Sons of Confederate Veterans first amendment right to show freedom of speech and not be denied of having this license plate. This may be offensive to some but the Sons of Confederate Veterans should not be singled out on this issue. I do believe there should be a state-wide license plate, so there wouldn't have to be arguments over this stupid issue and do somthing that actually matters.

1/5/2016
Sidney/MT
Casey
Mr Faulhaber/Sidney
I think the state should have to allow the licenses plate. The reading says it is what the motorist believes and not the state. The state should have to stay neutral. It is a goverment department. The goverment can not force you to practice one religion over another and can not make you practice a religion at all if you do not want to.

1/5/2016
Sidney
Michael
Mr.Faulhaber
I think that based on the context of the constitiution and what it would mean if it was ok to refuse the production, that it would be best decided to let citizens buy and use licence plates that can have these political messages on them. I say this because i agree that if we refuse the sale of some of such plates, we would have to stop the sales of all unique "vanity" licince plates and such. Also because it is purchased and presented by a private individual it would indeed be protected, sort of like wearing a confederate flag T-shirt, people may find it offensive and may not like it but you can still wear it. (depending on where and when in special cases from what i hear)

1/5/2016
Sidney, MT
Clay
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I believe that license plates can be used as a form of political speech, and that these "offensive" license plates should be allowed. If the state decides to limit one group's right to free speech, then the right to free speech is not secured for everyone. It may be true that the message displayed on the license plate is a largely unpopular one. However, it is the government's duty to protect not only the popular ideas, but the unpopular ideas as well. Therefore, the Texas DMV should allow the Sons of Confederate Veterans plate to be issued.

1/5/2016
Sidney, Montana
Katlyn
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I think that license plates are a form of political speech. The Sons of Confederate Veterns were expressing their own political views and should be protected while doing it. If the state of Texas denies them the right to express their ideas, then they would also have to not allow people to, for example, put their sports team on their plates. If they deny one belief then they have to deny all others. The Texas DMV should allow the Sons of Confederate Veteran's plates to be issued because they are expressing their political opinion.

1/5/2016
Sidney/Montana
Kaitlyn Tibbits
Faulhaber/ Sidney High School
I don't see how one could argue this case. Does the Texas DMV allow other groups to have special license plates? If so, then the Sons of Confederate Veterans should be allowed to have their license plates. If not, then all is fair and they can order bumper stickers and call it good. As far as political speech goes, I'd say it's up to the states to decide. I suppose a message on a state-issued plate would be a form of state endorsement but I've seen some crazy plates out there, so I don't know how that is figured out.

1/5/2016
Sidney Montana
Heather
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
Yes they have the right to freedom of speech but I don't think they should be aloud to because it can be found offensive. And its easier to just do a state wide license plate.

1/5/2016
sidney montana
Tyrell
Faulhaber/Sidney High School
my view point on this is that if a state is going to allow special plates then they have to allow a good majority of people put what the want on them. Our government needs to understand that if they cant put the confederate flag on the plates then they cant put our own flag on the plates. the confederate flag may offend people but those people can look the other way. It doesnt just stand for slavery and all the bad this that happened during the civil war. What if everyone knew of the attrocities our country has done while under the Stars and Banners. We are no less innocent then the south under the confederate flag which stand for what they believed in and what they were trying to establish

1/5/2016
Sidney
Mason
Mr. Faulhaber Sidney High School
License plates are a form of political speech, that should be protected by the First Amendment. The Sons of Confederate Veterans have their own views on what their license plates will represent, and really their views are the only ones that matter. If someone is going to get offended over something like that, I think it's pretty pathetic that they have nothing better to do than be offended by such an insignificant symbol on a license plate.

1/5/2016
Sidney/ Montana
Taryn
Faulhaber/ Sidney High Scool
I believe in my opinion that licenses plates is a form of political speech. I think that because you should be able to put whatever you want for what you can have. One thing I believe is if its going to cause a problem then I think you shouldn't put it on your licenses plate.

1/5/2016
Sidney/Montana
Cade
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I think license plates are a form of political speech. I believe that if a group like the Sons of Confederate Veterans want to issue their own plate that they have a right to do so as long as all the other groups that want to issue their own plates are allowed to do so too. This way everyone can express their political beliefs through their license plate if they so wish to.

1/5/2016
Sidney/Montana
Kelsie
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I don't believe the DMV should allow the Sons of Confederate Veterans plate to be issued. The plate would have a confederate flag on it, which could be upsetting to certain people. There's a chance that the offensive picture on the plates could disrupt the peace. Also, I don't think it should be allowed because it shows the state advocating the confederate flag, which is a symbol of slavery and the Civil War. North Carolina was denied the right to have "Choose Life" plates because it advocates a certain viewpoint and Texas would be doing the same thing with the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

1/5/2016
Sidney, MT
Ryan
Mr. Faulhaber Sidney High School
I believe that a license plate is a form of political speech and by not allowing the Sons of Confederate Veterans to have their plate it is taking away their first amendment right. I don't think a license plate is viewed as government endorsement of an idea or belief I think that it is a reflection upon what the owner of the vehicle believes.

1/5/2016
Sidney, Montana
Trista
Mr. Faulhaber
I believe that they should have made that license plate. It was taking away the freedom of speech by not letting them have it how they want it. It is their personal vehicle, so it's not like can be taken as that's what a company believes. No matter what we do in this country there will always be someone who doesn't like what someone else is doing.

1/5/2016
Sidney, MT
Jarod
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney HS
I believe that you should be able to have any sort of license plate that says anything on it. You're paying the government to make it and then putting it on the vehicle that you paid for, so why not be able to have it say anything you want. License plates should be protected as symbolic and political speech, since you are just expressing your views in a way. I mean honestly, how many people can you offend with 7 letters and a background?

1/5/2016
Sidney, MT
Clay Fox
Mr. Faulhaber
Seeing that Texas had no problem issuing plates to other organizations deems their decision not to allowl these plates irrelevant. Just because the beliefs and views from this organization are unpopular is no reason not to allow them.

1/5/2016
Sidney/Montana
Dillon
Faulhaber/Sidney High School
License plate are forms of political speech. Its no different then bumper stickers or putting a sign in the window of your house that expresses my views. The Texas should issue the plates. In not doing so they are discrimminating against the freedom of speech. I see where they are coming from in there arguement but they dont have the right to not make the plates. The government is trying to get to much control of everyone. Before you know it you wont even be able to take a shit without someone holding your hand and making sure you whip your ass. It is wrong what they are trying to do. The government wants everyone to be exactly alike. Not everyone is going to like what other people like.

1/5/2016
Sidney, Montana
Lexi
Mr. Faulhaber
I believe that the license plates should be allowed. The Sons of Confederate Veterans are simply expressing their belief for their group. If we took away these license plates we would have to take away other license plates that describe other organizations such as sports teams and such.

1/5/2016
Sidney, Montana
Brady
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I think license plates are a form of political speech and they should be protected by the first Amendment. There are license plates for people to express their political views and even what sports team they like if they take away one they would have to take all of the custom made license plates away, which wouldn't be neccessary. People should be able to express their views or group organization on their plates and it be protected by the First Amendment.

1/5/2016
Sidney, MT
Lane
Mr. Faulhaber
License plates are a form of free speech in my opinion, but in the other hand if people get offended you might as well make one state wide license plate and ban custom plates because everyone gets offended by everything these days.

1/5/2016
Sidney, Montana
Sadie
Mr. Faulhber
My opinion on if licences are protected by the first amendment or not would be, I think licences should be protected by the first amendment. Why? Because you may state your opinion and it may be offensive or hurt someones feelings but you have the right to stand up for what you believe in. The Confederate flag for example people can be offended by it because they think it is all for racism but the DMV must allow it because it is a department of the government. Which means that your opinions on license plates to put what you want should be protected by First Amendment, Freedom of Speech.

1/5/2016
Sidney, MT
preston
Mr.Faulhaber, Sidney High School
Licenese plate like many other thing can be customisable to what the owner wants. Like tshirts license plates can represent what the owner believes in or represents what the person is apart of. If that is taken away then freedom of speech might as well be taken away

1/5/2016
Sidney/Montana
Chris
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I think people use their license plates as a strong form of political opinion. They use it to express their ideas. If one group or orginization they would have to snag everyone elses. To me that sounds like a lot of work. If a license plate can offend you do to poltical expression you need to get some thicker skin. Everyone has the right to their own wants of their plate.

1/5/2016
Sidney, Montana
Kade
Mr. Faulhaber
A license plate is a symbol of a driver's view on what they believe in. Regardless if the license plate holds a picture of something that some may find offensive, it still would have to be allowed for this country was founded on letting what most would find offensive as being protected, not hidden. Also, the DMV is a governmental building and must follow the constitutional laws as such by allowing the Sons of Confederate Veterans to use the Confederate flag, or Rebel Flag as it was once known as in the Revolutionary war.

1/5/2016
Sidney, Mt
Lucas
Mr. Faulhaber
Id say yes to a license plate being a form of political speech. However you are limited to only seven letters and digits so its not like very much can be said. However they have shnazzy little back round deals that can show a lot of meaning behind them and may be even more powerful than the word you choose to put on your plates

1/5/2016
Sidney/Montana
Chris
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I think people use their license plates as a strong form of political opinion. They use it to express their ideas. If one group or orginization they would have to snag everyone elses. To me that sounds like a lot of work. If a license plate can offend you do to poltical expression you need to get some thicker skin. Everyone has the right to their own wants of their plate.

1/5/2016
Sidney/Montana
Dominic
Faulhaber/Sidney High School
Costumized license plates should be allowed because not allowing it when it is Goverment related is showing a facor that the goverment is not supposed to take. With the dispute over the confederate flag it is showing a symbol how you wish to depict it is of your own personal volition. The confederate flag is symbolic speech protected by the first ammendment and is one of the resons we have freedom of speech is for unpopular belief. The standpoint against the flag is like us going against our own flag if the tables were turned in the civil war and the confederates won.

1/5/2016
Sidney, Montana
Danielle
Mr. Faulhaber
I think license plates should be protected by the first amendment because it is an expression of their own personal views.

1/5/2016
Sidney MT
Trent
Mr. Faulhaber
I think that liscence plate should be protected speak. Liscence plates should be freedom of speak because it allows people to express their veiws.

1/4/2016
Sidney, Montana
Dylan
Mr. Faulhaber
License plates should be protected by the first amendment. People can be offended by the confederate flag, but the board of the DMV must allow it because it is a department of the government.

1/4/2016
sidney, MT
Marcus Lovegren
Faulhaber/sidney high school
I think that there are license plate options to allow people with strong political views to express themselves. There are also license plates for people who want to express their strong sports team allegiance. Also there are license plates for people in organizations and veterans. If we take away the political license plates, we have to take all of the custom plates away.

1/4/2016
Sidney/ Montana
Luke
Mr. Faulhaber/ Sidney High School
License plates are a form of political speech. They can be used to express an individuals stance on subjects that some find to be offensive or obscene. The Texas DMV should allow the Sons of Confederate Veterans plate to be issued because the courts have ruled that if you grant the right to have a plate to one organization, you must grant it to all organizations. Imagery that some find offensive, such as a confederate flag, should be allowed on a license plate. A person is not required to look at an offensive license plate if they don't want to. A message on a license plate is not endorsed by the state. Yes, the plate is issued by the government. However, the government is not endorsing the plate by distributing it. In fact, it is quite the opposite. By distributing the license plate, the government is conforming to a first amendment right, the freedom of expression. It is not establishing any endosement, the government is simply treating groups equally by distributing the plates from a variety of groups.

1/4/2016
Sidney MT
Micala
Mr. Faulhaber
I believe that a liscense plate is a form of free speech. I also believe that it should be protected under the first amendment, but I also think that it should not be protected if it is hateful speech.

1/4/2016
Sidney MT
Nick
Mr. Faulhaber
I believe that the custamization of your liscense plate should be protected under the first amendment as free speech. It could be considered as symbolic speech in a way. It would be like waving a confederate flag in front of your house its symbolic speech your liscense plate may have a confederate flag on it and someone may find it offensive what are they going to do say that its not symbolic speech.

11/23/2015
Sidney MT
Cayden Hecker
Mr. Faulhaber Sidney High School
License plates should fall under the first amendment. Citizens of the united states have the freedom to express themselves. Everyone can think differently on certain topics, some may take more offense than others. The person offended needs to recognize a persons right to free speech. If they really feel offended then they should display it using their free speech. If a pro life license plate offends you go get a pro choice plate and suck it up.

11/23/2015
Sidney, Montana
Chelsey
Mr. Faulhaber
A license plate is not a form of political speech. I agree with John McConnell in the article when he states the plates are approved by the government before given option to the public. The Texas DMV should have allowed the SCV plate to be used since it was approved, and a symbol of many citizens past. Not everything can be non-offensive to someone. Yes, plates that could be offensive should be allowed. I agree that if one side of a topic is allowed, than the other should be, as well. I think the states give options to citizens because of the 1st Amendment.

11/20/2015
Sidney, Montana
Christian Eggar
Mr Faulhaber Sidney High School
In my opinion i do not beleive that license plates are a form of political speech. People should be able to have the freedom to express themselves! The sons of Confederate Veterans have the right to show their flag. For one thing it is just a flag. Now yes during the Civil War it was the souths flag, but now it is a symbol of heritage. Now even if it is offensive to some pepole it is still their right to put it on a licence plate due to the fact that the law premits personal licence plates. So in my opinion it is not a form of political speech, it is a form of free spech and exercise therof.

11/20/2015
Sidney, MT
Hunter Nice
Mr. Faulhaber, Sidney High School
I’d say yes they are a form of speech. Like people with wrestling plates, or firefighter plates or things of that nature. Why should the confederate flag on a license plate be any different? Yes, most people think that the Confederate Flag is racist and they have that idea all wrong. It represents the heritage of the south. So I believe the Confederate flag on a license plate should be allowed just like all customized plates.

11/19/2015
Sidney/Montana
Bryana Christensen
Faulhaber/ Sidney High School
License plates area form of political speech. Citizens have the right to represent their own opinions and views by expressing them. However, putting a Confederate flag on your license plate should not be allowed because this irritates and bothers other citizens which, cause problems for the U.S. Depending on what is put on citizens license plates, will depend if it is a form of political speech or not. In addition, citizens should be able to represent a message, team affiliation, or organization because the First Amendment states that citizens can express themselves freely.

11/19/2015
Murrieta/California
Khedar Chuck Jones
Jabro/Creekside
I believe it is considered so. In my opinion, it's a form of protected speech as well. No Texas DMV shouldnt.

11/19/2015
Sidney, MT
Clay
Mr. Faulhaber/ Sidney Highschool
In this case I would rule on the side of the confederate group. The group expressed no intentions of intentionally offending a certain group of people with their logo. Because of this the state should be required to let them make their plates with that logo. If the group had intended on hurting a specified group of people my ruling would be reversed. Also the state has allowed groups to put logos on their plates and can’t start discriminating now.

10/6/2015
murrieta california
Robert
Mr.jabro/ Creekside highschool
As the license plates being a form of political speech, I believe it is considered so. In my opinion, it's a form of protected speech as well, and it doesn't violate any constitutional lines. We are protected by are amendments to have our speech, and symbols protected. In this case, the government buildings have the right to not want to hang the flag, but simply has no right to step on personal ideological ideas of someone because they don't like it. If the flag represents hate for some people, then no one can change their views, and they should have it protected but not liked. If it doesn't involve hate, then it shouldn't be an issue anyways, but it shouldn't be against the law for state dmv to control that. It breaks federal law, and a law that's older than the flag they are fighting over.

9/25/2015
Sidney, MT
Devon
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
License plate are forms of political speech. It is no different that wearing a political button, having a bumper sticker or putting a sign in my yard that expresses my views. The Texas DMV should issue the plates. In not doing so they are discriminating against the minority that wishes to have them. We’ve already deemed the act of discrimination to be wrong, and in so doing we cannot pick and choose the minorities we protect. For example, we can’t allow people to possess license plate advocating for same-sex marriage and not issue ones that show the confederate flag. The great thing about America is that it doesn’t matter if your beliefs offend someone else. You’re still allowed to have them, talk about them and show them in various forms of political speech.

9/25/2015
Sidney/MT
Danny
Mr. Faulhaber
I firmly believe that a license plate is a form of political speech, however, I do not believe that speech that is hateful in nature should be protected. The argument here is over a groups 1st amendment’s rights. The Sons of the Confederate Veterans argue that the confederate flag is a symbol of sacrifice, independence, and Southern heritage. That sacrifice refers to the lives they lost to keep slaves imprisoned. The Independence is referring to an armed insurrection against the United States. The southern heritage refers to the plantation lifestyle and discrimination that flag stood for. Portraying this flag would be comparable to a person putting a Nazi flag on their license plate knowingly being hateful against the Jewish population. Speech that is hateful shouldn’t be able to be displayed to openly show hate against other groups of people.

9/24/2015
Sidney, Montana
Tess Ler
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I think license plates are a form of political speech. It states in the First Amendment that citizens have the right to express their opinions and views. License plates would be a way of expressing your opinion. There are different views of what people think is offensive. The U.S. can’t make everyone happy because everyone does things that offend people. Stated in a previous blog, the Confederate Flag has been looked at as a racist image. The southern states’ Tenth Amendment was abused during the Civil War; therefore, the Confederate Flag was born. The Texas DMV has no right to take away the license plates because it is their right to show their opinion. I had previously stated that everyone finds different things offensive. Someone could put something on their license plate about a football team and that could be counted as offensive. A license plate has nothing to do with a states’ endorsement. It’s the person’s right to have what they want on their vehicle. In the case from Texas, Circuit Judge Edward C. Prado said it would be clear that the license plate represent the speech of the motorist, not Texas (washingtonpost.com). You can’t take away someone’s First Amendment right just because you think the image is offensive to you.

9/24/2015
Sidney, MT
Larren
Mr. Faulhaber/ Sidney high school
Yes, a license plate is a form of political speech. It is because when you get to customize your plate to how you want, you’re using your speech on it. But, putting something such as the confederate flag on it, or anything that can disturb something is wrong and should be illegal to put on. Because, if someone is able to put that on their license plate, what can be considered right and wrong on a license plate. They should really limit what you’re able to put on license plate. The government is denying anybody’s right to speech by not allowing them to put confederate flag on their license plates. They are just stopping them from putting inappropriate symbol’s on their state issued motor vehicles.

9/24/2015
Sidney, MT
Kasey
Mr. Faulhaber
I think a license plate could be a form of political speech but which would have no downside if it was harmless and inoffensive. However, I think that the line between offensive and harmless is blurred. The confederate flag, for example, has just been deemed illegal because many see it as a blatant form of hate and racism. Sporting it on license plates is just bending the rules as would many symbols of personal belief. This would add even more conflict to the war currently being had over personal rights and beliefs. I do think if you take the right to sport a symbol from one group the best option would be to have uniform license plates to prevent unfair distribution of rights.

6/5/2015
Stroudsburg/PA
Bartek
Mr.Hanna/SJHS
A license plate could or couldn't be a form of political speech. If it's something like a name or something then it is it a form of political speech but if it's something related to the government then it is a form of political speech. I think whatever it is it should be left alone.

6/5/2015
Stroudsburg PA
Danny
Mr. Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I think that a liscenes plate can be a form of political speech but it really depends apon what is on it. I think the DMV should allow the sons of confederate veterans to use a liscenes plate like that because it is like freedom of speech I don't think imagery that some could find affensive to be allowed on plates. There is just no need for it. It depends apon the message or image on the plate, that could be state endorsement.

6/5/2015
Stroudsburg
Emma
Hanna sjh
I think it is a form of politcal speech. It's showing your personality & who you are . If it's bad stuff then it's different. But if it's just expressin somebody's personality then it's fine

6/4/2015
Stroudsburg, Pa
Owen
Mr.Hanna/SJHS
I believe that license plates are a form of political speech. Yes I do think the Texas DMV should allow the Sons of Confederate Veterans plate to be issued. Some may find what is found on this license plate offensive but others may see it as a part of where they come from. They are expressing how they feel and they should be allowed to because of their freedom of speech.

6/4/2015
Stroudsburg/Pennslyvania
Luke
Mr. Hanna/SJHS
It really depends on the amount of "political" speech that is on the license plate. Is there a logo, words, or symbol on the plate. If there is a "political" symbol then it should be dropped, but if it is a soccer team logo or something, then leave it alone.

6/4/2015
stroudsburg/pa
ava
Hanna/sjhs
I think that a liscence plate is a form of political speech. it is not against the law to voice your opinion, and doing so on a liscence plate is fine. as long as the message isn't racist or "rude" in any way, it's okay.

6/4/2015
Stroudsburg pa
Sarah
Mr. Hanna / sjhs
I think that a license plate is a form of political speech. People are putting words with meaning on their cars and everyone around them can see it. The people around them now know personal things about them and they want everyone to know.it is freedom of speech and I think it should be allowed for anyone and everyone to do.

5/21/2015
murrieta / ca
omaree
mr.jabro / creekside high school
yes because you the option to pay extra to customize your own license plate and you can put what ever you want as long as you pay the fees that protects your freedom of speech

2/27/2015
New York
Jason
Mr. Barsamian/CHSS
By flashing ones Headlights to warn another to slow down due to a officer trying to stop the speeding driver, this is illegal.You are going against the people trying to protect you, by giving the driver a ticket he may learn and wont jeopardize a innocent citizen.

2/26/2015
Murrieta CA
Angel Arreola
Jabro Creekside
I believe it is a form of political speech, but it is also still freedom of speech because it not harming no one. If people decide to customize their license plate then i have no idea why someone would think ts for "Team affiliation", its just like wearing a hat that has your city initials on it.

1/30/2015
Creekside High School
Richard
Mr. Jabro
I think that having your own personal license plate is a freedom of speech. it allows you as an individual and as a human to express yourself. As much as I don't agree with what the Confederate flag stands for and it is personally a disgrace to who I am.. it doesn't meant that I have to take offense to the opinion of others nor be subjected to their personal thoughts. There are so many people across the world who have their own personalized tags, and stickers and license plates on their vehicles and no one complains about those until its a certain religious group, or segregated group. These people have the right to their own voice and to their own opinion without everyone having to take offense to it. I personally will have a custom license plate in my near future

1/21/2015
Norman, OK
Maegan
Christine Woodard
I think that having your own personal license plate is a freedom of speech. it allows you as an individual and as a human to express yourself. As much as I don't agree with what the Confederate flag stands for and it is personally a disgrace to who I am.. it doesn't meant that I have to take offense to the opinion of others nor be subjected to their personal thoughts. There are so many people across the world who have their own personalized tags, and stickers and license plates on their vehicles and no one complains about those until its a certain religious group, or segregated group. These people have the right to their own voice and to their own opinion without everyone having to take offense to it.

1/21/2015
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Destiny
Mrs. Christine Woodard
I agree with the first judgement, that it should not be allowed. The first Amendment right for freedom of Speech is being stretched so thin. Everyone crying that there rights are being taken or restricted. When in reality their being made to think about others. Your freedom of speech is taken when you are not allowed to voice your opinions openly. The Sons of Confederate Veterans are being careless and have a hidden agenda/meaning behind there choice. This case should not have made it as far as it did.

1/16/2015
Murrieta,CA
ed naeemy
jabro creekside
I think that it shouldn't be allowed. People are so caught up with supporting this and that but when it comes down to actually being there they wont be. They'll pile up excuses and bail last minute. I think they should just get rid of the whole custom license fiasco. Its a way to express yourself? No just another excuse to be obnoxious. If you want to support what you stand for go buy t-shirt or make poster and tape to your front door whatever how ever you support it is your job. There is a limit to how far you should go supporting something going public is to far. The Texas DMV should not allow it.

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