Monday, March 22, 2004

Split panel of Fourth Circuit strikes down Choose Life plate statute in SC

In Planned Parenthood v. Rose, the panel of Judges Luttig, Michael, and Gregory issued three separate opinions, with all concurring in the result that the SC law allowing the "Choose Life" license plate was thrown out as unconstitutional as viewpoint discrimination, affirming the district court's rulings.

Interestingly, Judge Michael wrote: "Of course, South Carolina could abolish the Choose Life license plate Act that results in mixed speech and adopt "Choose Life" as its state motto. Then the State’s identity as speaker would be readily apparent, and the State would be accountable to the public for its support of a particular position. Residents displeased with the State’s position could register their displeasure through the electoral process. However, precisely because this is a case of mixed speech, and the identity of the speaker of the Choose Life message is likely to be unclear to viewers of the license plate, government accountability is diminished.

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