Supreme Court to weigh in on Confederate flag license plate

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Photo: Alabama Department of Revenue

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court is weighing a free-speech challenge to Texas’ refusal to issue a license plate bearing the Confederate battle flag.

Specialty plates are big business in Texas, where drivers spent $17.6 million last year to choose from among more than 350 messages the state allows on the plates. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles says nearly 877,000 vehicles among more than 19 million vehicles registered in Texas carry a specialty plate.

But a state motor vehicle board turned down a request by the Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans for a license plate with its logo bearing the battle flag. Nine other states issue similar plates.

The justices are hearing arguments today over whether the state violated the group’s First Amendment rights.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans license plate is currently available for purchase in Alabama.

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