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Supreme Court of the United States

The Children First Foundation v. Fiala

Last Updated: 6/2/2020

Overview

What's at stake

  • Whether pro-adoption organizations have the right to a specialty license plate on the same terms as any other organization
  • Whether the state can censor an organization for its life-affirming viewpoint

Summary

Children First Foundation, Inc. ("CFF") is a New York based non-profit that promotes adoption as an alternative to abortion. To help raise awareness about adoption, CFF designed a custom license plate that featured a yellow sun behind the faces of two smiling children along with the words "Choose Life," all of which were designed to look like a child drew them with crayon. When CFF applied to have its custom license plate included among the dozens that are approved for use by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, its request was denied. The New York DMV claimed that the proposed design was "patently offensive." 

Represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, CFF filed a lawsuit to challenge the denial of its custom license plate. In November 2011, the district court issued an order for the state to approve the plate application. The court found that the sole basis for New York’s rejection of CFF’s plate application was viewpoint discrimination. The court also found that the department’s unlawful discrimination was enabled by the absence of objective standards guiding its evaluation, leaving it free to reject speakers whose views it opposed. The state of New York appealed the ruling to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The Second Circuit has yet to rule on the case.

Alliance Defending Freedom is still fighting for CFF and other groups who simply desire that their pro-life speech be given equal access to communication venues that the state has opened to public interest organizations.

Our role in this case

Alliance Defending Freedom represents The Children's First Foundation in the defense of its constitutional rights.

Resources

Legal Documents

Court
Title
Date
{"docs": [{"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Summary judgment decision and order", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/the-children-first-foundation-v.-fiala/children-first-foundation-inc-v-fiala---summary-judgment-decision-and-order.pdf", "Date": "10/31/2017 10:25:17 PM"}, {"Court": "AppellateCourt", "Title": "2nd Circuit order on motion to dismiss", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/the-children-first-foundation-v.-fiala/children-first-foundation-inc-v-fiala---2nd-circuit-order-on-motion-to-dismiss.pdf", "Date": "10/31/2017 10:25:17 PM"}]}

Biographies

Jeremy Tedesco

Senior Counsel, Senior Vice President of Corporate Engagement

Jeremy Tedesco serves as senior counsel and senior vice president of communications for Alliance Defending Freedom.

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