1st Amendment question

Old 12-14-2008, 05:39 AM
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Default 1st Amendment question

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The text above is the 1st amendment of the Bill of Rights of the US constitution.

SC just passed a law allowing the state to sell license plates with a Cross, and "I believe." Naturally, the first amendment also allows anyone to sue anybody anytime for anything, and a judge has ruled to halt the sales of the plates pending completion of trial and lawsuit.

My question is intended to elicit discussion about the first clause in the first amendment. If this gets political, the thread belongs in the bilge. I won't respond to Steelhead, so I purposefully post in dockside chat to get meaningful opinion about what members think of the first clause.

Anyway, the current issues include these facts. SC law allows all kinds of messages on license plates. "In God we trust." "Smiling Faces Beautiful Places" etc etc etc. Second, cemetaries are full of US government sponsored and paid for granite crosses, stars of David, and muslim headstones.

Taken to the absurd "legalistic" notion that crosses in cemetaries establish a state religion, we'd better break out jackhammers and destroy all these headstone monumemts.

How is it that the SC legislature (Not congress, btw) can sell license plates to individuals with messages including religious content, and this somehow establishes a government religion??? Isn't a license plate message an expression of speech, and hence defacto protected speech?? Clearly, the license plate is property of the individual, and not the state of South Carolina.

What gives??
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Old 12-14-2008, 05:52 AM
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SurferGirl - 10/12/2008 1:31 AM
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Old 12-14-2008, 06:31 AM
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Default RE: 1st Amendment question

Lennon license plate coming to more states
Tuesday, December 09, 2008 | 10:35 AM BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The state of Florida was the first to have John Lennon "Imagine" license plates, but now more states could be getting them.
Yoko Ono allowed Florida to use Lennon's self-portrait and the word "Imagine" on a specialty plate, with the money raised from its sale going to the Florida Association of Food Banks.
More than 31,000 of the plates have been sold in Florida.
The company that helped create the plates, Foundation Consultants, is pushing to get the plate in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Illinois first, then the 17 other states that allow specialty license plates. The plates would help generate funds for food banks in each state.

(Copyright ©2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:53 AM
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SurferGirl - 12/14/2008 5:52 AM

SurferGirl - 10/12/2008 1:31 AM
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:36 AM
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Default Re: 1st Amendment question

if they made every person have a cross on their license plate, then i could argue the point of a "state-established" religion. but if i can choose to have no cross, or a star of david or a muslim cresent, or even a picture of tom cruise kissing john travolta's ass, then the state has not done anything "prohibiting the free exercise thereof".

but as you've noted...if people want to grind their axe, the language is sufficiently loose enough to give them an opening to grind that axe in a courtroom. the irony, of course, is the axe-grinders are typically those same folk who whine about the infringement of their rights to burn an american flag. don't think you can make those arguments without being a hypocrit of the highest order. but hypocracy has never stopped anyone.
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:44 AM
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Default Re: 1st Amendment question

Isn't there a distinction in these idiotic license plates between privately sponsored and publicly sponsored? In other words, can't some dumb arse group that wants one of these idiotic theme tags pony up some bucks and get it?

I recall some article making this distinction, but I'm not sure. If there is a distinction, just pass the plate one more time and buck up.
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:00 PM
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Default Re: 1st Amendment question

i'm with you Smitty, one of my plates are the normal S.C. plates. Another says "In God We Trust". I did not request it they just gave it to me. I do know for sure the plate does not belong to vehicle owner, it belongs to the state and they can demand it back for any reason they want, ie failure to pay property tax, no insurance. I guess for all the money we pay to register and plate our cars in SC, we are only "renting" the plate
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