Good news today but happened yesterday, January 28,th 2008 at 9th US Court of Appeals
Here is some good news !The US Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of t
he Arizona Life Coalition in the Arizona Life Coalition v Stanton case
about speciality license plates. This happened on Jan 28,2008 and is case
number #05-16971, and DC#CV-03-01691-PGR. The Judges on the Court
that I want to thank for upholding the First Amendment for prolifers are:
Paul G Rosenblatt, Presiding Judge
David R Thompson
Richard C Tallman
Kevin Thomas Duffy sitting from the Southern District of New York;
with the opinion written by Judge Richard Tallman. Also to thank these
people for demanding the First Amendment liberties for prolifers:
Jeffrey A Shafer,attorney
Alliance Defense Fund
Benjamin Bull of Alliance Defense Fund
Peter A Gentala
Center for Arizona Policy
Arizona Life Coalition
Basically here's what they decided:
a speciality license plate is not a state tax,but payments for a product
["vanity" or specialty license plate];
the sale of those is not coerced but voluntary;
for the purpose of citizens paying a set fee to promote and display a
by allowing specialty plates for nonprofits, the state agreed to provide a
public forum in which philanthropic organizations may exercise First
Amendment liberties to raise money for their causes;
the state did not choose the plate or edit it, with the cartoon images of
two children nor the words, "choose life";
Wooley v Maynard 430 US 705 (1997) case of US Supreme Court ruled
that messages on license plates are private speech, not state sponsored
speech, because of the connection of the owner or driver of the vehicle,
since vehicles that buy those are privately owned.
The state does not compel anyone to buy a specialty plate.
Specialty plates still identify the owner of the vehicle and therefore
serve the State's interest.
Allowing specialty plates creates a public forum; and in such a forum
speakers cannot be excluded unless there is compelling state interest
and exclusion is narrowly drawn to acheive that.
The test they applied about whether a forum is public or nonpublic is
drawn from the case Sammartano v First Judicial District Court, 303 F
3d 959, 965 (9th Circuit, 2002) that states it depends upon : 1) the
central purpose of the program in which speech in question arises, 2) the
degree of editorial control exercised by the government or private
entities over the content; 3) the identity of the literal speaker, 4) who
bears responsibility for the content of the speech. Taking these into
consideration, specialty plates do not raise issues of compelled speech,
does not interfere with the State's need to identify vehicles and their
owners, vehicle owners bear the responsibility for the license plates, not
the state, state of Arizona did not choose or edit the message, and the
Arizona Life Coalition meets all the State requirements for participation
in the program for specialty plates as the State agreed, since they did
not raise that issue.
If Governments decided to regulate speech, they must conduct a
"traditional First Amendment analysis". And "consistency in application
[of rules set by government] is the hallmark of any policy designed to
preserve the nonpublic status of a forum."
Questions to be decided were: was it "viewpoint discrimination",
unreasonable and in violation of the First Amendment?
quote; "One thing is clear; when the government has chosen to permit
discussion of certain subject matters it may not then silence speakers
who address those subject matters from a particular perspective."
Limiting all forms speech on any topic [religious, political etc] is
unconstitutional. See Rosenberger case, 515 US @ 831.
quote:" When the government is plainly motivated by the nature of the
message rather than the limitations of the forum, or a specific risk within
that forum, it is regulating a viewpoint rather than a subject matter".
and is unconstitutional. See Choose Life Illinois Inc, 2007 WL 178455,
Regulating/prohibiting/controlling speech because it is "controversial' is
viewpoint discrimination and is unconstitutional.
Therefore their decision was that prohibiting the State of Arizona
allowing its citizens to order a "Choose Life " speciality plate is
viewpoint discrimination, unreasonable, and in violation of the First
Amendment to the US Constitution, and therefore they ordered that the
plates be produced.
4:18 PM 1/29/2008