Updated:
February 20, 2015

Whether Texas violated the First Amendment by refusing to allow a specialty license plate bearing the Confederate Flag because its message was deemed offensive to many members of the public.

Texas has established a specialty license plate program to generate revenue.  The Sons of Confederate Veterans applied for a specialty license plate under this program that included the Confederate flag.  Their request was denied on the ground that many members of the public would find it offensive.  While agreeing with the state’s assessment of the Confederate flag and the message it conveys, the ACLU argues in its amicus brief that the First Amendment prohibits Texas from engaging in viewpoint discrimination in its specialty license plate program, which is best understood as a forum for private speech.

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