Monday, June 22, 2015

U.S. SUPREME COURT - Two Decisions on First Amendment

"Supreme Court renders decisions on First Amendment" PBS NewsHour 6/18/2015


SUMMARY:  The Supreme Court decided on a few cases significant to the First Amendment today.  Marcia Coyle, Chief Washington Correspondent for The National Law Journal, explains what these rulings mean.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Today at the Supreme Court, two significant rulings on the First Amendment.

The court ruled 5-4 that the Texas state government has the right to not issue Confederate Flag license plates.  And, in a unanimous decision, the court said the sign ordinance in the town of Gilbert, Arizona, was too restrictive of a local church.

For more on these cases, as always, is Marcia Coyle of “The National Law Journal.”


MARCIA COYLE, “The National Law Journal”:  Hi, Judy.


MARCIA COYLE:  Thank you.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  So, let’s take this Texas license plate case.


JUDY WOODRUFF:  This was a case that was brought on behalf of the Confederate — Sons of Confederate Veterans.


They wanted to have a specialty license plate that included the Confederate Battle Flag.  The state of Texas turned them down.  They had a number of public comments finding that display offensive.

The Supreme Court today ruled that Texas didn’t violate the First Amendment rights of this organization.  Justice Breyer wrote the opinion.  He said that this is not private speech protected by the First Amendment.  What appears on your license plate is government speech.  Government has traditionally used license plates to convey messages.  It uses license plates for identification and registration of drivers, and the state ultimately has the authority to decide what goes on the license plate.

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