Plates and Speech

A license plate, similar to this one, was at the heart of a recent SCOTUS case.

Is Offensive Speech OK on License Plates?

In a recent Supreme Court hearing, the justices heard a case out of Texas involving personalized license plates. The state plate program allows citizens to include images on the plates, and the petitioner in this case desired a Confederate flag. The license bureau denied the request, wanting to keep a symbol that is offensive to many off the state-owned plate. The petitioner argues that this state action is a denial of free speech. Listen to the report at linked below and see what you think. Then answer the questions below.

Link to NPR


Questions for Completion:

1. What is the state of Texas’s legal argument as to why it can regulate the speech on these plates?

2. List one hypothetical or comparison that a justice offered.

3. How would you decide the case if you were on the Court and why?

After answering questions, check out the Court’s decision.

Photo/Image: “Tennessee Confederate License Plate” by J. Stephen Conn via Creative Commons.