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No ‘Choose Life’ Plates For North Carolina, Rules Federal Judge

choose life

You won’t see anymore “Choose Life” plates in North Carolina. A federal judge ruled today that the state could no longer issue the anti-abortion licence plates without offering an alternative.

Senior U.S. District Judge James C. Fox said that North Carolina should not be allowed to distribute specialty plates that push an agenda while the other side of the argument is not represented. Fox said that it was unconstitutional because the license plate constitutes “viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.”

According to the News Observer, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of four pro-choice North Carolina drivers in 2011. The ACLU tried to get the state to consider “Respect Choice” plates or “Trust Women. Respect Choice” plates but the state refused to amend legislation. Fox decided that if the state would not allow “Respect Choice” plates then there would also be no “Choose Life” plates in the state.

Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU’s North Carolina Legal Foundation, said:

“This is a great victory for the free speech rights of all North Carolinians, regardless of their point of view on reproductive freedom. The government cannot create an avenue of expression for one side of a contentious political issue while denying an equal opportunity to citizens with the opposite view.”

Reuters reports that the “Choose life” plate was one of about 70 new plates approved by the state in June 2011. Money raised from the plates was scheduled to go to crisis pregnancy centers in North Carolina but only to locations that did not provide abortions.

Are you happy that there are no “choose life” plates in North Carolina? Do you think the state should have issued both “choose life” and “respect choice” plates?

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6 Responses to “No ‘Choose Life’ Plates For North Carolina, Rules Federal Judge”

  1. Anonymous

    I want Choose no more stupid annoying kids because you're a bad parent plates with graphic pictures of dead bloody fetus', that always sparks my apatite.

  2. Soulless Ginger

    That's why we have a Constitution that governs ALL states, so no one is secular. Don't like it? Succeed.

  3. Madame Publius


    There is a Judge in North Carolina, James C. Fox, who just got himself added to Madame Publius’ Naughty List for violating the Good Behavior standard of practice mandated by Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution.

    This naughty Judge was caught imposing his own will over that of the legislature, which, as many of my readers know by now, is prohibited by the Constitution according to Hamilton in The Federalist Papers Letter 78: “The courts must declare the sense of the law; and if they should be disposed to exercise WILL instead of JUDGMENT, the consequence would equally be the substitution of their pleasure to that of the legislative body.” (Emphasis added) This kind of judicial activism, Hamilton warns us, puts us in a place where liberty has “everything to fear”. Id.

    The bad behavior of Judge Fox came out of a ruling where he ordered the North Carolina legislature to stop making license plates that display the “Choose Life” slogan, since they would not print plates with the words “Respect Choice”.

    According to the news article: “The anti-abortion plate was one of approximately 70 new specialty plates approved by the Republican-led legislature and signed into law by Democratic Governor Bev Perdue in June 2011.”.

    Apparently, Judge Fox did not read what Madison wrote in The Federalist Papers Letter 45 about the power of the states and the federal government: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.” Everything else, he says remains “in the State governments [and] are numerous and indefinite.”.

    That’s a broad statement of power as I am sure you would agree. So, if the power of the federal government is “principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce”, how did Judge Fox read anything in the Constitution that lets him impose his will over license plates?

    On the other hand, Madison’s conclusion about the powers of the states, easily encompass things like license plates: “The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” Ordinary course of affairs, oh yeah, like license plates!

    So how did Judge Fox get around something so obvious? How could he possibly use the Constitution, which restricts the federal government’s role to “external objects” like war and peace, to strike down a slogan dealing with the ordinary course of affairs in the lives of the citizens of North Carolina?

    Well, crazy as it may sound, according to the news article, Judge Fox ruled that “The lack of a plate promoting reproductive freedom in the state constitutes "viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment".

    Whoa! “Viewpoint discrimination”? That’s a new one, right? By the way, I just checked my copy of the Constitution and could not find “viewpoint discrimination” anywhere. Then I remembered that he must be talking about that “penumbra” of rights that the Roe v. Wade court disclosed, where we are told that only a judge can see into the hidden recesses of the Constitution and find such amazing things as “viewpoint discrimination”.

    Thank the Lord! I mean, what would we ordinary citizens do without men like Judge Fox? After all, apparently, we simply are not smart enough to read and understand the plain words of the Constitution.

    Actually, I think Hamilton referred to the dark things found in the Constitution by men like Judge Fox as “handles”. Remember The Federalist Papers Letter 84? That is the letter where Hamilton argued against even putting the First Amendment in the Constitution, because he said there would be “men [he was talking about men like Judge Fox] disposed to usurp” who would eventually come along and grab onto any number of “handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights”, which is obviously what Judge Fox did in this case. Needless to say, Judge Fox has to go. Impeach/Recall the Naughty Judge!

    By the way, in case you did not know, Utah prints “The Greatest Snow on Earth” on some of their specialty license plates, which is a real problem for me. So, I contacted the legislature to let them know that they were clearly in violation of Judge Fox’s newly discovered constitutional right of “viewpoint discrimination”. I demanded a similar amount of printings made that say “The Greatest Snow on Earth… NOT!” I have lived in Colorado, and trust me, Colorado has the “Greatest Snow on Earth”, not Utah. Well, that’s my viewpoint of the snow situation anyway.

    ~ Madame Publius.

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