The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Texas can deny applications for specialty license plates featuring the Confederate flag — plates that at least nine other states currently offer.
The court ruled that Texas’s refusal to provide the special plates constituted government speech.
“As a general matter, when the government speaks it is entitled to promote a program, to espouse a policy, or to take a position. In doing so, it represents its citizens and it carries out its duties on their behalf,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the majority opinion.
The group pursuing the plates in Texas was the state chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. But their peer organizations have had more success in other states, as we reported last fall:
At least nine other states offer Sons of Confederate Veterans license plates, as pictured at the bottom of this post: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. A portion of plate proceeds often go to the sponsoring organization. In Georgia, for example, the local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans gets $10 of the fee to get or renew a specialty license.
Lawmakers in California, on the other hand, passed a blanket ban last month on the sale of any goods bearing the Confederate flag. In a statement, Assembly member Isadore Hall (D) said the legislation “respects Constitutional protections by restricting government speech, not individual speech and will send a strong message that California and its taxpayers will not be in the business of promoting racism, exclusion, oppression or violence towards others.”
Here’s a look at what those plates look like in each of the nine other states: