A pro-life group can now take steps to offer "Choose Life" license plates to Arizona drivers after the Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a lower court decision allowing the plates.
On the first day of a new term, the nation's High Court let stand an appeals court ruling in favor of Arizona Life Coalition (ALC), which had requested the specialty license plates.
In January, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Arizona License Commission violated First Amendment rights of ALC when it refused the organization's application. The Alliance Defense Fund and Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) jointly represented ALC in the six-year case.
"The Supreme Court's decision not to hear the case upholds the principle that life-affirming expression is constitutionally protected just like any other speech," said CAP on its Web site Monday.
Americans United for Life (AUL), which filed an friend-to-the-court brief to the Ninth Circuit court, was encouraged that the Supreme Court's denial of review could possibly signal other courts to allow "Choose Life" license plates which are still pending in New Jersey, New York and Oklahoma.
"This is huge victory for 'Choose Life' license plates. By denying review, the Court has affirmed that Arizona and other states cannot deny Choose Life license plates simply because of their pro-life message," stated Denise Burke, AUL vice president and legal director.
Arizona joins other states like Missouri, which already offers the "Choose Life" specialty license plates. In Texas, a pro-life group called Texas Alliance for Life went on a statewide tour last month in an effort to influence legislation that would create "Choose Life" license plates to benefit pro-life causes.
According to CAP, Arizona's commission on license plates must now approve the application so the "Choose Life" plates can go into production.
Although the full process could take several months, CAP is currently collecting a list of drivers who are interested in obtaining the pro-life specialty plates. Interested parties can send their name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proceeds from plate sales will benefit the Arizona Life Coalition.