WASHINGTON (BP) – The United States Supreme Court permitted pro-life license plates in Louisiana and Tennessee by refusing recently to accept challenges to those states’ approval of such auto tags.
By Baptist Press
WASHINGTON (BP) – The United States Supreme Court
permitted pro-life license plates in Louisiana and Tennessee by
refusing recently to accept challenges to those states’ approval of
such auto tags.
By declining to review lower court decisions, the
high court allowed to stand rulings in the Fifth and Sixth Circuit
Courts of Appeals upholding the legality of license plates bearing the
message “Choose Life” in Louisiana and Tennessee, respectively.
The Tennessee pro-life plates, which cost $35 more
than a regular auto tag, are expected to be available this fall, The Tennessean reported. Louisiana resumed sale of “Choose Life” tags in January after a favorable appeals court action, according to The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.
The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the cases means
there are conflicting opinions in the circuit court system regarding
pro-life tags. While the Fifth and Sixth circuits have ruled in favor
of pro-life plates, the Fourth Circuit has ruled against them. In 2005,
the Supreme Court declined to review a Fourth Circuit opinion that said
South Carolina’s “Choose Life” tags violate the First Amendment by not
permitting an abortion rights message in the same forum.
Michael Crampton, a lawyer with the American Family
Association’s Center for Law and Policy, said he believes the Supreme
Court eventually will have to rule on such a license plate case.
“I think the court is setting a fairly cautious
agenda for the future,” Crampton told The Times-Picayune. “A lot of
this is to be expected from a court that is not reaching out to take
cases and attempt to set policy, so in that sense I applaud the
In each case acted on June 26, a federal judge ruled
against the pro-life plates, but an appeals court panel overturned the
More than 1,200 Tennesseans pre-purchased “Choose Life” plates, according to The Tennessean.
“Tennesseans have waited long enough to get this
plate on the road and generating proceeds for agencies which help women
and families facing difficult pregnancies,” said Brian Harris,
president of Tennessee Right to Life, according to The Tennessean.
Fifty percent of proceeds from the Tennessee
pro-life plates will be distributed to pro-life agencies, The
The Fifth Circuit includes Mississippi and Texas, in addition to Louisiana.