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U.S. Supreme Court Denies Freedom of Speech by Refusing to Hear Choose Life Illinois Appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal in Choose Life Illinois v. White, upholding a Seventh Circuit ruling that the Illinois system for approving specialty plates was not discriminatory.

The case was filed in 2004 after citizens had collected more than the requisite number of signatures, but were denied a “Choose Life” license plate.

Dr. Charmaine Yoest, President and CEO of Americans United for Life, observed, “Ever-increasing numbers of pro-life Americans want to proudly display the “˜Choose Life’ message on their vehicles “” as evidenced by the fact that 22 states now offer such plates.  Illinois is unfairly censoring the freedom of speech of its citizens by not allowing them to obtain a plate with a life-affirming message.”

Mailee Smith, AUL Staff Counsel, noted, “Pro-life citizens in Illinois followed the rules in applying for a ‘Choose Life’ license plate, but were prohibited from obtaining the plate because the Illinois Secretary of State did not like its pro-life message.  As the last defense for constitutional rights, the U.S. Supreme Court should have stepped in to correct the State’s clearly unconstitutional action.”

As in other states, the proceeds from the proposed “Choose Life” license plates would have gone to organizations such as pregnancy care centers that provide adoption counseling and referrals.

Americans United for Life filed an amicus brief in the Seventh Circuit on behalf of a large coalition of Illinois pregnancy care centers.  That brief is available at http://www.aul.org/xm_client/client_documents/briefs/ChooseLifeILvWhite.pdf.  However, that court refused to accept amicus briefs filed by pro-life organizations.