June 18, 2015

#SCOTUS says #Confederate flag not free speech; #hypocrisy alert?

More specifically, the Supreme Court has said the state of Texas can ban the Sons of Confederate Veterans from being part of the state's vanity license plate program because of its use of the Confederate flag.

This is a tough issue, but I generally disagree with Gov. Greg Abbott, who led the push for the ban. The Sons of Confederate Veterans has had local chapters that have been squirrely, but, how else do you put the SCV on vanity plates without the Confederate flag?

Here's the backstory:

In 2010, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board denied a request from the Sons of Confederate Veterans' Texas Division that the state issue a license plate featuring the group's name and a picture of the Confederate flag. The board said it denied the application in part because "a significant portion of the public associate the confederate flag with organizations advocating expressions of hate directed toward people or groups that is demeaning to those people or groups."
This, of course, gets into issues of hate speech vs. actual hate crimes, and many other things. 

The easy answer is to get rid of vanity plate programs in general. Here in Tex-ass, that would have the advantage of killing off another privatization contract, for starters. (Here's the details of the current contract.)

And, if a pattern of hateful speech eventually becomes part of criminal activity, as with Charleston shooter Dylann (sic) Roof reportedly  displaying a Confederate flag license plate, you then prosecute for a hate crime.

Otherwise, this is just like Adopt-a-Spot programs that have highway road signs. States, when someone like a Ku Klux Klan local has become an Adopt-a-Spot volunteer, have simply killed the public signage for the program.

It's interesting that Clarence Thomas was part of the majority. Given that he's been more philosophically consistent on the Court than Nino Scalia, and has opposed many affirmative action programs, it's interesting indeed. The Atlantic has more on his flip-flop, which does stem from his Southern background. Now I'm back to questioning his intelligence, if he can see no link between Southern white intimidation of blacks and the need for some type of affirmative action. There's good in-depth analysis here of Thomas in particular and the majority in general.

And, isn't that, my "get rid of vanity plate programs in general," reminiscent about what John Roberts has said about affirmative action?

"There is no honor among Supreme Court justices."

And, the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, among others, agree this is censorship.

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