By on November 30, 2011

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) succeeded Monday in having a license plate with the slogan “Choose Life” blocked in North Carolina. US District Court Judge James C. Fox granted the liberal group’s request for a preliminary injunction against issuance of the plate while the lawsuit makes its way through the court.

On June 30, Governor Bev Perdue (D) signed a law giving motorists the choice of paying $25 extra to have the plate instead of the standard-issue “First in Flight” logo on their license plate. Other available show a preference for individual NASCAR drivers or carry messages such as “Play Tennis,” “Save the Sea Turtle,” “I’d Rather be Shaggin’,” “Support Our Troops” and “Kids First.” The ACLU argues that the lack of an plate expressing support for abortion violates their First Amendment rights.

Half of the states offer Choose Life plates, which have withstood some, but not all, legal challenges. The US Courts of Appeals for the Sixth, Eighth and Ninth Circuits upheld the constitutionality of the plates in Tennessee, Missouri and Arizona, while the Seventh Circuit struck down the plate in Illinois. The legal issue centers on whether the plate represents governmental speech as opposed to individual speech. The attorney general’s office argued the legislature is directly accountable for the message it chose.

“Each of the voting members of the General Assembly on either side of the issue regarding these plates took a stand which they knew could mean the difference as to whether they might be re-elected or not,” Special Deputy Attorney General Neil Dalton wrote in a brief to the court. “By taking this action they knew that some North Carolina license plates would bear the message ‘Choose Life’ and that no North Carolina license plates would bear the ‘alternative’ messages sought by the opponents of the ‘Choose Life’ plate.”

Judge Fox sided with the ACLU which argued that the legislature prevented individual speech when it specifically rejected amendments to the legislation that would have authorized a competing “Respect Choice” plate.

“The state should not be allowed to use its authority to promote one side of a debate while denying the same opportunity to the other side,” ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation spokesman Katy Parker said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing our arguments in this case, and hope the court agrees that the First Amendment prohibits the blatant type of viewpoint discrimination the state has proposed through this one-sided license plate scheme.”

[Courtesy: Thenewspaper.com]

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114 Comments on “North Carolina: Choose Life License Plate Blocked...”


  • avatar
    Advance_92

    They should have just followed the Colorado example and trade in on a tragedy to sneak the message on to plates.

    How about a Metallica-themed ‘Kill ‘em All’ license plate, with the knife coming up from the commode?

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      You don’t know what you are talking about. The Columbine families overwhelmingly chose the Colorado license plate design from many designs. There was nothing sneaky about it. The State had allowed preference to the families and the families were not swayed by any little piddly special interest group. Columbine’s tragedy was foremost in their final choice. It could have been any other design, and whatever they selected, would have been honored.

      Abortion was not the issue there. You are the one twisting that tragedy to denegrate it, not the families whose loss one hopes no one ever again experiences.

      I know what I am speaking about because I have first-hand knowledge of this horrific event.

      You are wrong. There were many in the legislature that tried to promote another design, but the families continued to push their request. Out of respect for their choice, the license plate was issued. It is now the most popular plate in Colorado.

    • 0 avatar
      vento97

      For some strange reason, I prefer the skull-and-crossbones-themed “Choose Death” license plate…

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    1. Why is this item here? What has this got to do with cars, exactly?

    2. Is there a more dastardly, despicable, cowardly, malignant, repugnant or loathesome organization on the planet than the ACLU?

    Of course, that’s just my opinion….YMMV.

    rant off

    • 0 avatar
      MarkP

      Oh, I don’t know. The Republican Party?

      • 0 avatar
        Mark MacInnis

        Yeah. I figured someone would come back with that one. Way to be predictable!

      • 0 avatar
        MusicMachine

        To predictable? Try this: Blythe Masters, JP Morgan employee, inventor of credit default swaps (one type of leveraged unregulated derivatives made famous by AIG’s collapse) causing 2008’s collapse of the world financial system. Timothy Geithner, Allan Greenspan, other proponents…

        Though not directly responsible for any one abortion, collective stubborn, careless actions of such powerful and wealthy people trickles down in to the poorest of communities (and now to the middle class). I’ve watched certain sections of Ft. Myers FL turn to complete danger zones of prostitution, drug activity and related crime.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        @MusicMachine: Why hold individuals responsible for their actions, when you can blame a Joooo instead?

        I hear this was the plan all along:
        Step 1: invent financial instruments
        Step 2: make lots of money
        Step 3: ruin world financial system
        Step 4: destroy Fort Myers, in retribution for that bad bagel I got there that one time in 1982

      • 0 avatar
        MusicMachine

        @darkwing: Tho I like your style of writing, I’m not sure what you are saying. If I should clarify it would be to say: I was just referring to holding individuals who helped wreck the economy accountable. I don’t believe I was “blaming” anyone. Neither did I realize anyone to whom I was referring, was a “Joooo.” I can’t verify the quality of the bagels but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is poor.

    • 0 avatar
      rodface

      Greenpeace.

    • 0 avatar
      Trevor57

      Pro lifers?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Is anyone supposed to be swayed by calling people opposed to murdering innocent babies despicable? Does it ever trouble you to advocate murder for selfish reasons? No? How did you get this way?

      • 0 avatar
        Maxb49

        @CJinSD:

        Innocent babies my ass. They aren’t “innocent”and they aren’t “babies”. It’s time to start calling out ignoramuses like you who peddle this crap that has no basis in fact.

        That being said, the original article has little, if anything to do about cars, other than the point that involves license plates.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Erm, NAMBLA? You’re really going to rank the ACLU ahead of NAMBLA?

      • 0 avatar
        Mark MacInnis

        Okay, you got me there…the ACLU ranks SLIGHTLY ahead of NAMBLA…but you can be certain the ACLU would have no compunctions about DEFENDING NAMBLA in a legal situation….which maybe makes them worse….

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The ACLU and NAMBLA have a symbiotic relationship at worst. There would be no NAMBLA without the ACLU.

      • 0 avatar
        Maxb49

        There would be no Tea Party without the ACLU, or groups like it either. Political groups that express viewpoints outside whatever the political mainstream depend on legal groups made up of attorneys who have given their lives defending First Amendment rights.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Our rights come from the Constitution, not from the ACLU.

      • 0 avatar
        Maxb49

        CJinSD:

        The day attorneys stop defending your Constitutional rights is the day you, and everyone else, can kiss their rights, life savings, and property goodbye. Constitutional rights don’t mean anything unless someone defends them.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Looking at a list of ACLU cases/issues from the last decade or so I’m having a hard time understanding your characterization of them as “cowardly”.

      Agree with them or not, they seem to be quite willing to aggressively go after powerful groups and defend unpopular positions. How is that cowardly?

      • 0 avatar
        TR4

        Cowardly used to mean something like “shamefully fearful” but apparently not any more. In modern useage it seems to mean “despicable” as in “the cowardly acts of the 9/11 terrorists”.

    • 0 avatar
      retrogrouch

      It’s sad bad that you think defending your civil rights is dastardly, despicable, cowardly, malignant, repugnant or loathesome. Have you made your plans to move to North Korea where civil rights are of no concern? I suggest you bring a spare hat and mittens to help you through the winter. Or, you could volunteer yourself for a post natal abortion.

      With that said, I thought this suit was ridiculous until I read the part about the state legislature blocked a “Respect Choice” plate.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        It isn’t about defending civil rights.

        The ACLU uses the guise of defending civil rights to upend societal standards through our legal system. The ACLU is about civil rights about as much as Hustler is about sex education.

        One of the first things taught in Law is the fact that the Law is not about what is moral or right. What makes America different is the recognition of “unalienable rights”, and the establishment of a subservient government in response to those rights. Unalienable rights are not necessarily legal ones.

        Life is an unalienable right. Justifying the taking of a human life through legal means is not much different from justifying the enslaving of a human life through legal means. In both cases, pro-slavery and pro-abortion groups wish for the law to define what is a human being, instead of allowing science. Every conception within a human being creates another human being. Throughout history there has been groups which strive for law to ignore that unalienable truth which in the US, is an unalienable right.

        So, the ACLU demanding that a “Respect Choice” license plate be considered to counter the “Respect Life” license plate is based on laughable moral equivalency which completely disrespects a fundamental human right. I’m just glad they weren’t around in Lincoln’s time or they would have been arguing a pro-slavery stand based on similar arguments.

        Our society respects human life even when an individual intentionally commits an atrocity. We have long established legal limits pertaining to the use of capital punishment, and deservedly so. We do not legally kill someone who is accused of a crime. We do not take a human life if they fail a test, unless they fail the Down’s Syndrone pre-natal test, which if they do, we currently kill 90% of those who fail it. While we claim we cherish diversity and have proven ourselves one of the greatest loving societies in history, we will end a human life if it has been determined that that life may not be perfect after it is seperated from it’s mother. Claiming it is a matter of individual choice belittles the importance of taking a human’s unalienable right to life.

        If you want to live in a society that does not value human life – go ahead and choose North Korea. For now. There always comes a time when in every society it realizes how far short a legal definition within a corrupted society falls.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        I hate to break it to the hard-core anti-choice people but the Supreme Court along with several states prior to that agreed that abortions were legal medical procedures so your so called “societal standard” isn’t there. If anything it’s a religious requirement that has no dramatic impact on society one way or the other.

        The whole issue is (and the short blurb even skews anti-choice) that there is no alternative to the anti-choice license plate. The ACLU asked that a pro-choice plate be made available the DMV declined to do so, so the court rendered an accurate and fair verdict. Two sides, two points, one plate, it’s a case that any western civilization court would would decide the same all day long.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        In the news today, a Christian student is being expelled from a public university for not pretending to approve of sexual perversion. The ACLU in favor of the university’s right to expel her.

        Boldly defending unpopular views from an otherwise oppressive government, my ass.

      • 0 avatar
        JustinM

        Dan, why don’t you tell the whole truth? Jennifer Keeton was expelled as a graduate student in counseling at Augusta State because she refused to abide by the American Counseling Association code of ethics. This is not the first case like this, and the universities have won every single time.

        How about the “personal responsibility” people like to talk about so much but nobody seems to enjoy taking part in? She chose that major. She knew what she was getting herself into. She knew the ethical code (and if she didn’t she had no business being a grad student in that field in the first place).

        Also, the ACLU did not defend either side in this case. They did send an amicus brief that argues that universities can hold their students accountable to professional codes of ethics, which should frankly be self evident.

    • 0 avatar
      mikedt

      From the ACLU’s site: “In the United States Supreme Court over the past few years, the American Civil Liberties Union has taken the side of a fundamentalist Christian church, a Santerian church, and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. In celebrated cases, the ACLU has stood up for everyone from Oliver North to the National Socialist Party. In spite of all that, the ACLU has never advocated Christianity, ritual animal sacrifice, trading arms for hostages or genocide.”

      I’m sure when they were on Ollie’s side you thought they had the correct position. Just like “Activist Judges” and “State’s Rights” nobody seems to have a problem as long as they reinforce the holders beliefs. As soon as they differ though…..

      The solution here was simple, and we all know it. The state should have allowed Pro-Choice plates, although I still think the ACLU would have had a problem with that given that the monies were going to religious organizations. Separation of Church and State is a biggie.

    • 0 avatar
      JustinM

      I expect that same question (#2, that is) the next time the ACLU defends a conservative Christian cause, which it does with regularity. It’s funny how many of them are so willing to ream out the ACLU when it suits them but go running straight to the ACLU when they realize they need help defending their rights.

      • 0 avatar
        vento97

        > It’s funny how many of them are so willing to ream out the ACLU when it suits them but go running straight to the ACLU when they realize they need help defending their rights.

        You’re not kidding. Their actions elevate the term “blatant hypocrisy” into a major-league art form.

        Or in other words, these individuals take themselves WAY too seriously…

      • 0 avatar
        Mark MacInnis

        If the people at the ACLU would put equal vigor, time, resources and energy into ‘defending’ conservative Christian causes, I could respect them. They don’t. The IDEA of the ACLU is a good one. The EXECUTION of the idea, subject to the biases and whims of the members, is where I take exception. Rigorously. The ACLU ‘pretends’ to be equal-opportunity in seeking out all cases where civil liberties are attacked. They pay ‘lip-service’ to the notion of freedom and equality for all while cherry-picking their cases to advance a liberal agenda. As such, they are frauds. ’nuff said. Ed, this has been very entertaining, and by reading these comments, we learn much about our fellow B&B members. Thanks for your courage in running these side-bars. I withdraw my initial reaction that this story did not ‘seem’ to have much to do with the subject of Cars….to all my fellow B&B…thanks for a spirited debate.

      • 0 avatar
        JustinM

        Mark,

        http://www.aclufightsforchristians.com/ would like to have a talk with you.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      PETA wins hands down.

    • 0 avatar
      swilliams41

      Lawyers are horrible until they are representing you. The ACLU is no different in that regard. Even though I find some of their clientele reprehensible, I certainly support those clients right to obtain counsel. THAT is the American way.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        You make an excellent point. The greatest threat to our civil liberties is the government. The ACLU has defended threats to those liberties for a wide variety of clients.

    • 0 avatar
      Jellodyne

      You can’t just have civil liberties just for people you agree with, otherwise nobody really has any. If you think the ACLU is dastardly, despicable, cowardly, malignant, repugnant or loathesome, I suspect that you don’t understand their motivations for defending the despicable.

    • 0 avatar
      mallthus

      “1. Why is this item here? What has this got to do with cars, exactly?”

      Uh, license plates go on cars. So, my question is this…why does anything but licensing information go on a license plate?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The article failed to mention that $15 from every plate registered would be given to an anti-abortion organization. If the state donating money to religious organizations that oppose legal medical procedures isn’t a First Amendment breach, then I don’t know what is.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark MacInnis

      Not all anti-abortion organizations are de-facto religious….just as not all religious organizations are anti-abortion.

      Didn’t know that there were so many liberals among the B&B.

      Well. You’ll figure it out, sooner or later.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Not all anti-abortion organizations are de-facto religious

        The one that would be getting the $15 from each of these license plates is.

        In any case, stop being naive. As usual, these people can’t stand the idea of the United States not being a theocracy.

        If you want to use your car to express your anti-abortion sentiments, then exercise your rights as a consumer in a free market economy, and go buy a bumper sticker produced in the private sector. If you want to donate money to the cause, then go do that on your own, without the help of a government agency.

        Using the state motor vehicles department as a fundraising arm for a religious cause is a blatant slap in the face to anyone who supports civil liberties. If the cause is so wonderful, then go figure out a different way to fund it.

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        Dang, you love them labels! How’s that working out? Making lots of friends there?

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        It is good for a society and it’s government recognize the importance of human life.

        Just saying.

      • 0 avatar
        swilliams41

        Mark,

        choose life, but do not tell me what to choose.

      • 0 avatar
        windswords

        I object to the government taking my earned income from me and giving it to non-governmental organizations that perform abortions. In the case of Planned Parenthood (aka Planned Barrenhood) I think abortion is their religion. On top of that they don’t even report sex crimes to the feds who give them funding as *required* by law. The same law that got Joe Paterno fired. If the government wants to fund abortions then let a branch of the government do the dirty work. We could call it the Department Of Abortion (the DOA or Dead On Arrival), or the Abortion Protection Association (the APA), a division of the Dept of HHS.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        windswords

        The problem with that is you are letting yourself be distracted into focusing your ire on an organization that focuses on family planning, medical care etc…mostly for poor and less educated women who could use the help. Abortions, as they have shown repeatedly, are a ridiculously small percentage of what they actually do. I certainly don’t begrudge your no-abortion stance, but thats an issue for the US gov. not some random health care provider.

      • 0 avatar
        vento97

        > VanillaDude

        > It is good for a society and it’s government recognize the importance of human life.

        George Carlin had something to say about that statement:
        http://www.bookmark-manager.com/permalink-99

        > Just saying.

        Another abomination of pop-culture that has outlived it’s usefulness. Case in point – using the word “so” in front of the adverb “not” (“That’s so not funny”).

      • 0 avatar
        windswords

        tedward,

        Facts and perspective are needed. If you drill into the numbers you will find out that abortion is NOT a small percentage of what they do.

        http://www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2011/04/why-the-claim-that-abortion-is-%E2%80%9Conly-3-of-planned-parenthood%E2%80%99s-services%E2%80%9D-is-so-radically-misleading/

        From the article:
        “To see how Planned Parenthood arrives at this claim, look at PPFA’s March, 2011 Fact Sheet, “Planned Parenthood Services.” [1] There you’ll see Planned Parenthood’s 332,278 abortions listed as 3% of the 11,383,900 services the organization says it provided clients in 2009. If you do the math, it comes out to 2.9%.

        But look closer at the page. You’ll notice that it lists every “service” Planned Parenthood does equally, whether it is a test, a surgical procedure, or handing someone a condom. Something that takes a couple of seconds and can be done by receptionist is put on par with what is supposed to be a serious operation.”

        While the public is increasingly skeptical of Planned Parenthood’s operation, it has yet to put a dent in the organization’s bottom line (which just passed the $1 billion mark). The majority of Americans wouldn’t invest in a company that conspires in sexual crimes against children, accepts racially-motivated donations, promotes pornography to kids, devotes millions to the election of pro-abortion leaders, and uses unsanitary equipment to treat patients. But because of Title X, Medicaid, and now windfalls from the health care bill, the federal government is forcing taxpayers to do just that.

        So I am happy to focus my “ire” on this “family planning” organization that has it’s historical roots in Margaret Sanger’s American Birth Control League (ABCL), which advocated the sterilizing of those she designated as “unfit”, mainly the menace posed by the “black” and “yellow” peril.

      • 0 avatar
        JustinM

        “The majority of Americans wouldn’t invest in a company that conspires in sexual crimes against children, accepts racially-motivated donations, promotes pornography to kids, devotes millions to the election of pro-abortion leaders, and uses unsanitary equipment to treat patients.”

        [citation needed]

    • 0 avatar
      DubTee1480

      If North Carolina’s program is set up similar to the one here in Mississippi (and it seems to be), the plate is more expensive than the standard plate and the surcharge is collected and passed on to the organization that promoted the plate (http://www.dor.ms.gov/mvl/SpecialtyTagFeeDistribution.html). The state doesn’t divert any revenue to the organization that would otherwise be going to the state. We also have a “Choose Life” plate and we don’t have a “Pro Choice” plate… but the issue there is no organization has managed to get the minimum amount of commitments to buy one, not that our state legislature blocked the option completely.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I’ve only ever put one specialized plate on my car. It was a “Critical Habitat” plate and I really liked them, they look better than Minnesota’s standard plates. I tend to avoid putting anything on my car that might make my car a target.

    Then again Minnesota doesn’t have many specialty plates that I know of. We have “Support Our Troops”, “Critical Habitat” and amatuer radio plates.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Without commenting on the plate’s political message, I’ll just ask: why couldn’t somebody blessed with the gift of sight, or at least a passable sense of aesthetics, design this plate? If it is indeed that garish, it’s a breach of the Eighth Amendment.

  • avatar
    Darkhorse

    This license plate thing has gotten way out of hand. Virginia now has over 200 plate designs to choose from. I guess it’s another revenue gainer.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Oh to have a choice in license plate design. Here in BC all we get for choice are ‘Beautiful British Columbia’, or one with some mountains behind the letters. Someone once suggested a cannabis leaf would be more representative of British Columbia as it’s the province’s number one export.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    So why is the gov fighting this one? Just offer a plate that says “choose to abort fetuses” with a picture of I-don’t-know-what, send the money to planned parenthood and be done with it.

    The secret behind the secret is that plates like these are the state’s way of capitalizing on (and making money from) the bumper sticker mentality of a certain segment of the population (that would be the segment who like to use bumper stickers). The pro-life people are fired up and anxious to promote their position . . . and the state saw a business opportunity and took it.

    In Maryland, there are “save the Bay” plates and also college alumni organization plates, so you can advertise the fact that even Harvard graduates sometimes drive like fools!

    How any of this creates a First Amendment issue is a little fuzzy to me. Since the plates are optional, this is not a “compelled speech” situation. Once the state gets into this business, it must have some principled way of choosing who gets a plate and who doesn’t. I mean, if the Harvard Alumni can get a “Harvard Alumnus” plate from the State of Maryland, why shouldn’t the members of St. Andrew’s Church be able to do the same? And, if your answer is “because it’s a church” then does that mean that Notre Dame alums can’t (or shouldn’t) get a plate?

    Or we could just back up this road and return to a single state license plate which has the state’s name on it and no more. Plus vanity lettering for the young lady who wants everyone to know that she’s “1FUNGRL.”

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      The “principled way of choosing who gets a plate” in this case is that the side who can keep these elected officials in power get their say, and the other doesn’t. That’s what’s smelly about this.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      The issue here is I doubt Maryland is forking over 15 bucks to Harvard. Most likely Maryland is pocketing all the money and simply using the images and names under a fair use standard though. Also…..Harvard is a religious school just like Notre Dame. It was founded by congregationalists.

    • 0 avatar
      JustinM

      If an organization is big enough to merit a specialty plate, that’s fine, but religious organizations shouldn’t receive money from their sale.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Give me a “DUMBAS” plate. I overlooked the part about the legislature declining to authorize a pro-choice plate. The license plate is, I suppose, like a government-controlled “commons,” so the government is going to have a hard time justifying content-based decisions on who gets to speak and who doesn’t . . . which is what this looks like.

      If the government is going to be in this business, then it’s going to have to devise a non-content based way of choosing who gets a plate and who doesn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      How any of this creates a First Amendment issue is a little fuzzy to me.

      Two word summary: Establishment Clause.

      • 0 avatar
        DubTee1480

        Choose Life, Inc is a non-profit. I wasn’t aware that the Establishment Clause applied to non-profits. Again, while I disagree with that North Carolina has done, it seems your picking the wrong flag to fly on this issue.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Choose Life, Inc is a non-profit.

        In North Carolina, the $15 per plate would go to the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, a non profit whose members consist of Christian adoption (read: anti-abortion) groups.

        If the license plate supported adoption and steered clear of the religious overtones, then there wouldn’t likely be a problem with it. But the theocrats who insist on Christianizing everything that they touch aren’t content with that sort of neutrality, so we end up with this obvious affront to the wall of separation.

        Those who want to evangelize should do it on their own, without government help. There is no state church in the United States, and that is by design.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Let them have their ‘Choose Life’ plate but all proceeds go spreading the word on emergency contraceptives or ‘The Morning After Pill’. Pro Lifers should be in favor of TMAP because it cuts down on or avoids the abortion/life situation-question altogether but then again Pro Lifers need something to squawk about.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Many, if not most, pro-lifers believe that human life begins at the moment of conception. TMAP works by preventing the fertilized egg from implanting to the uterine wall. Therefore, TMAP is just another form of abortion to those pro-lifers, as are many forms of birth control pill.

  • avatar
    MarkP

    In Georgia there are lots of speciality plates, for which you pay a premium when you get your tag. Now the state has started collecting a premium every time you get a new sticker for your speciality tag. It’s just a fund-raising thing. Georgia has also started letting people put a “In God We Trust” sticker on their plate in place of the county sticker. They were at least smart enough not to mandate that one.

    And by the way, VanillaDude, legal rights are your only rights. If it’s not legal, you don’t have it. You can argue that all the way up to the Supreme Court, but it won’t change a thing.

    • 0 avatar
      JustinM

      Not for long, Mark. There’s a bill (that looks like it’ll pass) that will make the “In God We Trust” bit mandatory and the county sticker the thing you can buy as an extra. I don’t see how that’s legal, but the majority gets away with lots that they shouldn’t.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    I think the real problem here is that you have all marched off in whatever direction your little part of the universe might be. Whatever that direction might be has nothing to do with cars. Ok, the site did too. However, I can see that the site was at least vaguely connected with cars. This discourse is not.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Hmmmmmm. Abortion license plates for some, miniature American flag license plates for others!

  • avatar
    redav

    Last I checked, the First Amendment does not guarantee that the govt or any other organization acknowledges, respects, appreciates, or endorses anyone’s point of view; rather, it just permits everyone to have their point of view and express it. There is no requirement or expectation for equal time/resources to be given to various sides of an issue, even if the source is the govt.

    Since they still have the right to put “choose death” bumper stickers on their cars, their First Amendment rights are unaffected by a “choose life” license plate.

  • avatar
    MarkP

    Whoa. Someone turned over one too many rocks. Time to bow out of this discussion.

  • avatar
    swilliams41

    Moderator, please close this thread. I do not read TTAC for this kind of crap. Political discussions not about cars have space elsewhere.

  • avatar
    tedward

    What a truly ugly comment thread “too bad you were not cut from the womb” I can’t believe I’m seeing this on TTAC, and from more than one commenter.

    I’m pro-choice, and its not b/c I’m necessarily pro abortion. Its because the original arguments against illegal abortions are so persuasive. Also, saying something is “sacred” means nothing to me. Full Stop. Please at least attempt to have a coherent argument, there are plenty to choose from here (pro and con) without resorting to a purely religous cop-out.

    From what I can see above only Pch101 came close to actually addressing the (real civil rights) issues at play in this (rather petty) scenario. Also, I find it hard to swallow when I see people blindly slamming the ACLU. Really, you need to be a fan of strong man utopianism or actually in favor of theocratic government to find yourself genuinely at odds with the ACLU as a whole. So it is possible to hate them as a democrat or a republican, but it’s not also possible to be anything less than the most rapid and disreputable member of either party at the same time. I’d bet most of those above don’t actually fall in either camp, I’d bet they don’t actually know what the ACLU does, and have swallowed some election year kool-aid somewhere in the past.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      The argument being, I assume, that as long as abortion is legal, cheap, and safe, people like Kermit Gosnell will have no reason to exist, won’t be able to harm at least hundreds of vulnerable women, and won’t have women referred to them by supposedly “pro-woman” organizations.

      Hmm, it doesn’t seem all that persuasive to me.

  • avatar
    Lemmiwinks

    I’m all for political/ethical banter and discourse on the internet. In fact, I sometimes seek it out and engage. But not here. Please, anywhere but here.

    I often wonder why (besides the underlying logistical reasons) these stories from “The Newspaper” end up on TTAC…

  • avatar
    aristurtle

    I left Jalopnik because of crap like this.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    I’m all for spirited (and occasionally mean-spirited) debate, but this is a bridge too far. Abortion is a hot-button issue that often defies traditional political boundaries and almost always brings out the absolute worst in everyone.

    I’ve got my opinion, and I’m keeping it to myself. I implore all of you to do likewise. It’s just not worth it in this type of forum.

  • avatar
    th009

    Generally posts from “TheNewspaper.com” (like this one) have minimal automotive content, unless you want to read about the latest red-light camera lawsuit in Hicksville. It really brings down the quality of the site in my opinion.

    Ed, if you want to keep publishing this type of non-automotive stuff, can you give the rest of us a way to filter it out?

  • avatar

    Let me be clear: I wondered (and not for the first time) whether this piece from Thenewspaper.com was worth republishing, and it’s clear that a number of commentators would rather I hadn’t. I personally have a somewhat conflicted approach to Thenewspaper’s content, and I’ve struggled to find the right relationship to it.

    On the one hand, some of its content really is amazingly good… well-researched reports on stories that nobody else is paying attention to. Other times the content is more “meh”… some of the updates on photo enforcement battles fit in that camp for me. Other pieces, like this one, I would never write myself for TTAC. As far as I understand, Thenewspaper is a one-man shop, so these kinds of variations in content quality come with the territory.

    I know that a number of TTAC commenters feel Thenewspaper is “biased,” and it certainly does have certain ideological tendencies (which, I might add, I don’t always share). On the other hand, it really is one of the only sites to cover the beat that it does, and nobody can deny that it often has some seriously good stories. Given a choice, I’d rather syndicate everything it publishes during the week, the good with the bad, and let the chips fall where they may. If you as an individual decide to write off Thenewspaper’s content, you are welcome to. If you can appreciate some pieces but don’t like others, you can decide that on a case-by-case basis. And if you love everything Thenewspaper writes, well, you’re not complaining, are you? As a site that strives to keep its coverage as diverse as possible, I know that many readers simply follow certain authors, having written off others. At the end of the day, we’re talking about one piece per day, five days per week.

    This gets to TTAC’s larger mission, and the fact that we are not a traditional car site. Cars do not exist in a vacuum, but are surrounded by a rich context of business, law, politics, culture, technology and aesthetics. TTAC’s goal is to illuminate that context and connect it to the cars themselves. I understand that politics are a fundamentally divisive topic these days, but we can’t pretend that they don’t exist. As long as cars and politics intersect there will be the occasional heated comment thread here… all we can do is either maintain our mutual respect as commenters or avoid the topic altogether. And either way, we should remember: the piece you love might be hated by someone on the other side of our political spectrum/chasm, and visa-versa.

    Comments that cross lines of basic decency should, of course, be reported to our contact form. It’s up to everyone who values this community to project and expect decency and respect in these comment sections. But at the end of the day, I want TTAC to be about exchanging ideas… and that means all of us will inevitably run into posts and comments we disagree with. If you want an echo chamber, where you only hear what you agree with, there are plenty of sites out there like that. But it you value the open exchange of ideas as I do, please take the good with the bad, and when conversations take an ugly turn, either elevate the discourse, ignore it, or send your objections to our contact form.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      I’ve been reading The Newspaper for years, long before I knew that TTAC existed.

      I don’t mind that it’s biased. I do mind that it is often sloppy with the facts.

      As far as I can tell, this particular story is factually accurate, so I have no problem with it. But I always assume that at least some details of The Newspaper’s articles are wrong unless and until I can verify them. It’s a good starting point for research, but it isn’t wise to rely upon it without fact checking it first.

      And in this case, it is relevant to the subject of driving because of the obvious connection to vehicle registration. I would guess that some of those who are objecting to this would be complaining if a state DMV were to approve a “Pray to Allah” license plate and nobody in the media bothered to talk about it.

    • 0 avatar
      harshciygar

      I read this whole thread, and there were some good arguments on both sides.

      And as Ed said, nobody else really covers what TheNewspaper does.

      While this may not be directly related to one car or another, it does affect our passion for automobiles.

      Like it or not, cars are VERY politicized these days. This is just one front in a war that has been raging for the last decade that I have been following cars.

      As for the issue at hand, I think the argument is very clear;

      You can’t support one cause with a vanity plate, and not another. It is either all, or nothing, and in this nation, under our laws, I feel that is how it should be.

      I think abortion is terrible, and I have personally experienced the anguish and emotion that comes with making such a life-altering decision. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what my could-have-been-child would be like today. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t my decision…it was *our* decision. Given the circumstances…it didn’t feel like the *right* thing to do, but the thing we *had* to do.

      I wonder how I could have been able to provide for that child, and how I could take care of a newborn and their mother, who was at the time an emotional track wreck, the product of a single-parent household and sexual abuse. At the time, my only income was from an under-the-table job as a landscaper. Neither of us had health insurance, and a hospital stay would have put us incredibly deep in debt. As it is, I find it hard enough to get by, and I may never be able to truly “afford” a child if the economy keeps heading in the direction it is.

      Even so…I am still racked with guilt, years later, and I probably will carry this with me my whole life. I am not a religious person, or even what one might call spiritual. But I have read the Bible, and I did grow up Catholic, and there is a very good argument to be made that life really begins a lot sooner than some people would have you think.

      As is the case with 99.99% of issues, both sides have very valid, and conflicting, arguments…but at the end of the day, if people would just worry about their own lives, instead of what everybody else is doing, our country might not be in such a dilly of a pickle.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        @harshciygar: “…but at the end of the day, if people would just worry about their own lives, instead of what everybody else is doing…”

        Does that statement apply equally to the side that demands access to your personal life, so when a difficult moment comes, it can convince you that the wrong thing to do is what you “have” to do? Or does it only apply to pro-lifers?

  • avatar
    A Caving Ape

    Great follow up, Ed! I for one don’t much like the TheNewspaper content (I can only be outraged at so many of our governments’ transgressions, I just don’t have the energy for those as minor as unwarranted traffic citations) but I appreciate the justification.

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    God bless the ACLU. If it weren’t for them, conservative bigots would destroy everything that makes The United States of America great.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    “Choose life, your mom did!”

    - I wish she hadn’t!

    I’m not a fan of any specialty license plates.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      “I’m not a fan of any specialty license plates.”

      +1 That’s what bumper stickers are for. I don’t know how the police are able to keep all their plates straight, when every state has such a variety of colors and layouts.

  • avatar
    Adub

    Considering state and local governments are ready to advertise on patrol cars and other government vehicles, selling license plates seems innocuous. Unless the default plate comes with a McD logo on it or something… Ooh, what a good idea! Charge people to opt out!

    That said, I think saying abortion is about “choice” is like saying slavery was about “states rights”. And I will never understand how people that support abortion don’t support executing people who truly deserve it. But that’s just me…

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      I’ve given up on trying to understand why we allow those who intentionally harm people or property to live. Human life has almost no functional value in the beginning and far less once it has been corrupted.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      “And I will never understand how people that support abortion don’t support executing people who truly deserve it.”

      Because being pro-choice has never been about justice; it’s about convenience.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      I’m sure you know the answer to that; there’s disagreement on what counts as human life. Not that there aren’t more angles to the issue, but the debate would look a lot different without that disagreement.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        Sadly, it wouldn’t. The unspoken motivation of the pro-choice movement is the elimination of “undesirables” — if you have any doubt about this, just look at the demographics of the women who en up in a Planned Parenthood clinic. (Hint: they don’t look anything like the women at Occupy Wall Street.)

        If the country were to wake up tomorrow agreeing that life begins at conception, it wouldn’t make one bit of difference to these people, because that life is still unwanted.

      • 0 avatar
        carlisimo

        Well darkwing, I don’t know what to say. If you think the other side’s motivations are something along those lines, there’s little chance you’d listen to them tell you their side of the story.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        Or maybe I listened to them just fine — but came to a different opinion after doing my own research and giving the matter more than a moment’s consideration.

        If you want to live the life of the perpetually undecided “moderate”, then go right ahead. Perhaps there are some celebrity gossip blogs that would be better suited to your interests.

      • 0 avatar
        JustinM

        Darkwing,

        Rich people don’t go to PP because they go to doctors. Poor people go to PP because they can’t afford doctors. There’s your “demographics”.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        Justin, since you’ve already made it abundantly clear you’re only interested in angrily repeating back talking points, I’ll just give you a pat on the head and wish you good day.

  • avatar
    50merc

    The key point is “Judge Fox sided with the ACLU which argued that the legislature prevented individual speech when it specifically rejected amendments to the legislation that would have authorized a competing “Respect Choice” plate.” Based on that reasoning, I suggest the legislature should be forced to authorize plates bearing legends such as “Kill the Whales,” “Abandon Our Troops,” “Choose Death,” “NAMBLA Knows Best,” and that old favorite, “Vote Hitler.” All non-sectarian!

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      All they have to do is allow plates supporting a woman’s right to choose what to do with THEIR bodies, as well as allowing plates in support of choosing to keep a pregnancy. Use whatever words you choose, but allowing people to express either point of view makes the issue go away.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve B

      Pro-choice guy here. No issue with the plate. With the phrase “Choose Life,” it acknowledges the right to choice, and encourages life. The funding to an advocacy group is troublesome though.

      I’ll say this though… The only pro-lifers I can take seriously are the “no-exceptions, ever” ones.

      If it’s a choice, then it’s a woman’s business (and unless a person can be forced by law to be physically bound to another person to keep them alive, forced to donate blood, bone marrow, etc., the government shouldn’t be able to force that on a pregnant woman. Placing the burden of the law on doctors just pushes it underground.

      If a glob of proto-human is indeed a person as claimed by PL’ers, the allowances for rape, incest, etc. are unfathomable. People are not executed for the crimes of their parents. Furthermore, if concern for conceived but unborn fetuses is the primary concern, PL groups would be logically expected to devote considerable funding and energy to contraception and sexual education. If you want to eradicate polio, you don’t fund treatment centers but oppose vaccination. This points to a different motive.

      This dissonance in the message makes it clear that the real goal is to punish women for having sex. Exceptions for rape/incest are postulated because the women aren’t as culpable in their pious eyes. The whole thing stinks.

      Given the choice between protecting the theoretical possibility of personhood and the reality of violating the personal liberty of a woman to not be enslaved to what is by most definitions a parasite, I’ll come down on the side of freedom every time.

      As to the plate, the as stated, the wording acknowledges that it is a choice, and encourages against the choice. This falls in line with the stated positions of almost every pro-choice voice in making abortion safe, legal, and rare.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        Congratulations — you’ve been duped by a pro-abortion talking point. The “rape and incest” exceptions are entirely inventions of the pro-choice side, to be brought up at any and every opportunity, to show how “unreasonable” those pro-lifers are. Sadly, you’ve taken it to a whole new level, somehow coming to the conclusion that the pro-life side came up with it. I don’t understand at all how that comes to be.

        The dissonance here, I’m afraid, is all on your part. Which is understandable — it’s hard to reconcile “safe, legal, and rare” with a movement that pushes for faulty sex ed and encourages abortion at every opportunity.

      • 0 avatar
        JustinM

        Wow. Really, darkwing? WE push for faulty sex ed? We’re not the ones forcing through harmful abstinence-only policies thinking that kids will actually stop having sex if we tell them often enough that they shouldn’t, and avoiding telling them about contraception and Gardasil.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        In a better world, Justin, we’d be able to have a nice, civil conversation about failure rates and risk adjustment, since, despite our differences of opinion, we could agree that abortion is a terrible thing and should occur as infrequently as possible.

        Sadly, in this one, you’re more interested in setting up straw men to shout stereotypes too, as though you’re more interested in scoring “points” in some sort of ideological purity sweepstakes than you are in actually discussing the underlying issue like a rational human being.

        It’s too bad, really, but oh well, such is life.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    No ‘Choose Life’ plates? What’s a Wham fan to do?

  • avatar
    stuki

    And progressive idiotopia manages to stoop one step lower still….


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