Partially thanks to Jon Stewart's rousing Daily Show monologue on the Charleston church massacre, the issue of state governments and their relationship to the Confederate flag has been reignited this week.
That means a lot more attention on a Supreme Court ruling late yesterday that says Texas is allowed to reject a specialty license plate from the Sons of Confederate Veterans that features a Confederate flag, if it wants to.
A lower court had already ruled that Texas doesn't have to issue the Confederate flag plates, and the Supreme Court upheld that ruling on grounds that license plates are issued by the government and are therefore government speech, not private speech protected under the First Amendment.
Texas (like many states) has a system that allows groups groups to submit plate ideas, and then approves or denies them. Basically, the court said Texas doesn't have to issue a specialty plate for every crazy-ass, or offensive group that comes along.
"Texas offers plates celebrating the many educational institutions attended by its citizens. But it need not issue plates deriding schooling. Texas offers plates that pay tribute to the Texas citrus industry. But it need not issue plates praising Florida’s oranges as far better.And Texas offers plates that say “Fight Terrorism.” But it need not issue plates promoting al Qaeda," the majority opinion read.
It's a small victory over a symbol of hate to many, but doesn't change the fact that the Confederate flag is still flying high over the state capitol in South Carolina. Not only flying, but flying high, even as the state flag and American flag there were lowered to half mast out of respect to the shooting victims.
[Via Mother Jones]