Agreeing that it is unconstitutional to allow license plates with anti-choice slogans, but not license plates that are pro-choice, a federal judge has issued an injunction preventing the state of North Carolina from selling the new plates.
U.S. District Judge James Fox granted a preliminary injunction sought by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina. The ACLU argued in a lawsuit that issuing a plate saying “Choose Life,” but not an abortion rights plate that read “Respect Choice” was a violation of free speech.
The case came down to whether or not specialty license plates are considered a form of private speech, which would be protected by the First Amendment, or government speech, which would allow the legislature to control its own message.
Judge Fox’s interpretation is that the driver of the vehicle is the one buying the license plate and spreading the message.
Each license plate sold through the state would have resulted in a $15 contribution to a state crisis pregnancy center. Just through presales, the CPCs would have received at least $4500.