Dixie's Out: Supreme Court Says Texas Can Reject Confederate License Plates


  • Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed 5-4 Thursday that the State of Texas can refuse a speciality license plate that included a design with the Confederate Flag. 

The decision reverses a lower court decision that sided with the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Texas affirmed that it had a right to refuse the organization's design because the symbol was considered highly offensive and linked to racism and bigotry. The Sons of Confederate Veterans said the state's refusal violated their First Amendement right to free speech. 

At issue with the court was whether or not specialty license plates were government speech. The Supreme Court affirmed that the plates in fact were, since the state owns the designs and administers the sale and The decision states the State is "engaging in expressive conduct" and not "simply managing government property." Therefore, private citizen cannot compel the government to print a specific design. Read the decision below.