I’ve gotten so used to judges ruling on the basis of partisan politics that I’m always quite surprised when one of them rules on the unpopular merits of a controversial case:
RALEIGH, N.C. – A federal judge has ruled it is unconstitutional for North Carolina to issue pro-life license plates unless the state offers similar plates supporting abortion rights.
U.S. District Court Judge James C. Fox ruled on Friday that North Carolina cannot produce or distribute the “Choose Life” plate.
Judge Fox concluded, “The State’s offering of a Choose Life license plate in the absence of a pro-choice plate constitutes viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation had filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina in Sept. 2011 on behalf of North Carolinians seeking a specialty license plate that supports a woman’s right to reproductive freedom.
“This is a great victory for the free speech rights of all North Carolinians, regardless of their point of view on reproductive freedom,” said Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU-NCLF.
Brook said the government cannot create an avenue to express one side of a political issue while denying an equal opportunity to citizens with an opposing view.
Judge Fox granted a preliminary injunction in Nov. 2011 that temporarily blocked production of the “Choose Life” plate; that injunction is now permanent.
This video was made in 2011. The injunction against the plates has now been made permanent.