Federal Appeals Court Refuses to Rule on “Choose Life” Plates

The Fifth Circuit US Court of Appeals last week rejected a request to reconsider its decision in March dismissing a challenge to Louisiana’s anti-choice license plates. The National Organization for Women (NOW) filed a lawsuit against the “Choose Life” plates in 2000, arguing that the Constitution prohibits public money from being spent on religious viewpoints. The plates, which are produced and distributed with taxpayer dollars, cost $25 more than regular license plates. The extra funds would be directed by an advisory council composed of representatives from religious and ultraconservative groups–the American Family Association, the Louisiana Family Forum, and Concerned Women for America.

Printing of the plates was blocked in 2000, when US District Judge Stanwood Duval, Jr., called the legislation permitting the “Choose Life” plates very likely to be unconstitutional, according to the Associated Press. Lawyer Bill Rittenberg for NOW told the AP that he is “strongly considering” appealing to the US Supreme Court.

Despite a lawsuit brought to the courts by the Florida chapter of NOW, Florida has sold more than 40,000 similar anti-choice plates since production began in 1999.


Associated Press, 8/13/02; The Advocate, 8/13/02; New York Daily News, 8/10/02; Feminist Daily News

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