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Opinion Federal appeals court rules ‘Choose Life’ plates unconstitutional

Unfortunately, this ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is demonstrative of the way injustice predominates our courts today.

Judge Wynn, speaking for the court’s decision, argued the First Amendment prohibits “restrictions distinguishing among different speakers, allowing speech by some and not by others … In this case, North Carolina seeks to do just that: privilege speech on one side of the hotly debated issue – reproductive choice – while silencing opposing views.”

Really? Where in the First Amendment does it mandate every viewpoint be allowed equal representation? If this is really the case, why is religious expression so stringently regulated and even disallowed in the schools? Why can’t Intelligent Design or Creationism be taught on human origins in our public schools? Why can’t we hang the Ten Commandments in our nation’s courtrooms? The pattern of the courts for several decades now has been to silence opposing viewpoints if those views don’t line-up with the prevailing liberal ideology of the day.

North Carolina has more than 150 specialty plates in our state including an Animal Lovers plate, a Save the Sea Turtles plate and Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains plate. Does this ruling mean lawmakers ought to have approved plates for Animal Haters, Kill the Sea Turtles, and Enemies of the Smokies? The ruling is absolutely absurd!

What is more, prior courts have ruled that the encouragement of childbirth is a legitimate governmental objective. The “Choose Life” plate lines up perfectly with that goal, so we could correctly argue the state has a right, even an obligation to adopt it as government speech.

We should also make it clear that pro-abortion advocates had the same opportunity to lobby the North Carolina General Assembly as pro-life groups. For those eight or nine years when pro-life groups were seemingly getting nowhere with lawmakers on the “Choose Life” license plate legislation, where were the abortion folks? They could have been right there pushing for their own tag. But they waited until “Choose Life” was in the homestretch and then demanded the fruits of the pro-life camp’s labor.

The Christian Action League urges the state to appeal to the entire Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Rev. Mark Creech is executive director of the Raleigh-based Christian Action League of North Carolina. He may be reached by phone at 919.915.3033 or email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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