- 15 teen movies on Netflix that will make you laugh, cry, and cringe 4 Years Ago
- How to watch Estrella TV online for free Today 5:00 AM
- People are roasting this ‘traditional’ take on marriage with a hilarious meme Saturday 5:17 PM
- The internet just collectively realized that the Neopets of the world must be hungry Saturday 4:00 PM
- Alt-right message board 8chan was served a search warrant Saturday 3:06 PM
- O.J. Simpson just joined Twitter in the most bizarre fashion Saturday 1:20 PM
- Prominent phone-hacking firm says it can unlock any iPhone for law enforcement Saturday 12:39 PM
- Hundreds of police officers belong to extremist Facebook groups, investigation finds Saturday 9:31 AM
- How to watch Tyson Fury vs. Tom Schwarz online Saturday 8:00 AM
- ‘Late Night’ is a disappointing, tepid comedy Saturday 7:00 AM
- How to stream ‘Love It or List It’ for free Saturday 7:00 AM
- How to watch the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup online for free Saturday 6:55 AM
- Borderlands 3 preview suggests the aging series can still hang with the cool kids Saturday 6:30 AM
- How to stream the 2019 College World Series for free Saturday 6:00 AM
- Police try to solve domestic violence by giving victims blunt kitchen knives Friday 5:40 PM
Supreme Court ruling lets states ban Confederate flags on license plates
You still have your freedom of speech. But license plates aren’t your speech.
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the government can refuse to print license plates that it considers offensive because those plates are government speech, not citizen speech.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans had proposed turning their logo, the Confederate flag, a specialty license plate that Texans could proudly display on their vehicle. But the Texas DMV said the Confederate flag was offensive and rejected the proposal. What followed was a heated debate over the nature of the speech and the reach of the First Amendment.
The Court’s opinion in the case, Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc., will weigh heavily on the decisions of other state DMVs as they consider vanity plates with symbols and imagery that may be considered offensive. In some states, for example, people have objected to “Choose Life” license plates that advocate against abortion.
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the majority, said that the government’s role in promoting speech through license plates was a key factor in the case.
“As a general matter, when the government speaks it is entitled to promote a program, to espouse a policy, or to take a position,” Breyer wrote. “In doing so, it represents its citizens and it carries out its duties on their behalf.”
Breyer concluded, “We hold that Texas’s specialty license plate designs constitute government speech and that Texas was consequently entitled to refuse to issue plates featuring SCV’s proposed design.”
Ben Jones, a spokesman for Sons of Confederate Veterans, disagreed with the high court’s reasoning.
“When someone puts a vanity plate or a specialty plate like these sponsored plates for non profit organizations they’re making a decision to put it on themselves,” Jones told CNN. “It obviously isn’t the point of view of the state of Texas but point of view of the the individual putting the plate on.”
Photo via Chang’r/Flickr (CC BY ND 2.0)
Once named one of Forbes’ 20 Under 20 and hired as a staff writer for the Daily Dot when he was still a senior in high school, William Turton is a rising tech reporter focusing on information security, hacking culture, and politics. Since leaving the Daily Dot in April 2016, his work has appeared on Gizmodo, the Outline, and Vice News Tonight on HBO.