California Judge Blocks New Plates After Choose Life Tag Rejected

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 6, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Judge Blocks New Plates After Choose Life Tag Rejected

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 6, 2003

Sacramento, CA ( — First the California state legislature rejected a Choose Life license plate proposal. Then, the pro-life group sponsoring the plates filed a discrimination lawsuit against the state. Now, a judge has issued an order prohibiting the state from issuing any new specialty license plates.

U.S. District Judge Garland Burrel on Friday ruled that the state Department of Motor Vehicles can’t issue new plates until the legislature changes the plate approval process to make it more fair.

The Women’s Resource Network, in its lawsuit, charged that the group was a victim of viewpoint discrimination by the state.

Burrel said the legislature currently has "unbridled authority . . . to suppress (an applicant’s) point of view." The process poses a potential violation of freedom of speech, he wrote.

Only one plate currently exists in the state that sends money to a private group or charity. That is the Yosemite fund plate that diverts money from the purchases to fund efforts at the national park. Others have failed to garner enough applicants.

WRN planned to use the funds generated from the plate to fund adoption and abortion alternatives programs.

The Choose Life plate legislation died in committee twice in the past two years, prompting the lawsuit.

Michael Millen, attorney for the group, said the legislature can "pick whose free speech it likes and doesn’t like."

"If the Legislature doesn’t think your message is politically correct, they can stop you from expressing it," Millen explained.

Related web sites:

Women’s Resource Network –