Texas License Plate

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Lesson Planned


Artist: Sons of Confederate Veterans

Year: 2011

Date of Action: August 2021

Region: North America

Location: Texas



Confronting Bodies: Sons of Confederate Veterans and Texas

Description of Artwork: A specialty Texas State license plate prominently depicting a Confederate flag, which reads "Sons of Confederate Veterans" at the bottom.

The Incident: The Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans filed a lawsuit after they were refused their request to produce specialty license plates depicting the Confederate flag, which is offered on license plates in 9 other states. The request was rejected, according to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board, because many members of the public take offense to depictions of the Confederate flag. Texas offers more than 400 specialty plates with a wide array of visuals and messages. The Sons of Confederate Veterans say that the license plate is not intended to spread hatred. The lawyer representing the Sons of Confederate Veterans argues that the message displayed on a license plate while driving is private speech, not government speech. However, others argue that the production of the plates imply a government endorsement of the imagery and message.

Results of Incident: Supreme Court ruled that Texas can reject Confederate Flag license plates. The Court held that license plates are government speech and are consequently more easily regulated/subjected to content restrictions than private speech under the First Amendment.

Source: [http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/23/us/a-test-of-free-speech-and-bias-served-on-a-plate-from-texas.html?_r=0%0A%0A%5Bhttp://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/us/supreme-court-says-texas-can-reject-confederate-flag-license-plates.html_Supreme_Court_Says_Texas_Can_Reject_Confederate_Flag_License_Plates%5D http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/23/us/a-test-of-free-speech-and-bias-served-on-a-plate-from-texas.html? r=0

Supreme Court Says Texas Can Reject Confederate Flag License Plates]