New York Choose Life License Plate Lawsuit Moving Ahead in Coming Weeks
by Steven Ertelt
March 23, 2009
Albany, NY (LifeNews.com) — The lawsuit a pro-adoption group filed against state officials who denied its attempt to allow motorists to purchase Choose Life license plates is moving ahead. In two weeks, attorneys will begin taking depositions in the case The Children First Foundation, based in Eastchester, filed.
The New York Department of Motor Vehicles rejected CFF’s design in August 2002 — considering it "too political and controversial" to approve. The organization redesigned the plate, adding the group’s web site to it to better explain its purpose, and the DMV rejected it again.
The state dismissed the attempt to create the plate and said it was rejected in order to avoid any appearance of governmental support for either side in the divisive national abortion debate.
Saying its free speech rights were denied, Children First filed suit with assistance from Alliance Defense Fund attorneys and, in January 2005, a federal judge ruled it had sufficiently argued its First Amendment rights would be violated.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzers second attempt to ban the plates and allowed the lawsuit to move forward.
The DMV eventually suspended review of specialty plates — a move that Elizabeth Rex, president of the Children First Foundation, says was done specifically to block the Choose Life plate.
Rex says sales from the plates will help fund pregnancy centers and adoption programs.
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