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ADF attorneys file brief with U.S. Supreme Court

Brief asks court to review decision on Illinois ‘Choose Life’ license plates
Published On: 10/18/2017

WASHINGTON — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund filed a friend-of-the-court brief Tuesday with the U.S. Supreme Court in Choose Life Illinois v. White.  The brief asks the court to review an appellate court’s decision denying Choose Life Illinois’ members the right to produce a specialty license plate with the slogan “Choose Life,” as part of a state program, because the words had been deemed too “controversial.”

“Pro-life and pro-adoption organizations shouldn’t be censored just because not everyone agrees with their viewpoint,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden.  “The State of Illinois cannot treat the ‘Choose Life’ message differently than it treats other messages that advocate causes in a program that is open to all non-profit organizations.  To do so is classic viewpoint discrimination, which is unquestionably unconstitutional.”

Other federal appeals courts have upheld the First Amendment rights of “Choose Life” plates in other states.  ADF attorneys, together with ADF-allied attorney Steven Amjad of Champaign, Ill., are asking the nation’s highest court to clear up the matter on behalf of Choose Life, Inc.; The Children First Foundation; Arizona Life Coalition; Choose Life of Missouri; and Massachusetts Choose Life.

Beginning with Florida in 2000, “Choose Life” specialty plates, such as the one proposed in Illinois, are now available in 19 states and have been approved in five others, despite opposition from organizations such as the National Organization for Women and Planned Parenthood.

Although Illinois approved plates to benefit other causes, including some that were also “controversial,” it denied Choose Life Illinois’ request for a specialty plate.  Choose Life Illinois filed suit in federal district court, which ruled that the state violated Choose Life’s First Amendment rights by refusing to approve the plate.  Illinois appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, which reversed the lower court’s decision.

In the brief, ADF attorneys write, “The Supreme Court should not permit the precious right of free speech on public ways to become subject to the political whims of a governing body, without any limitation on its discretion to guard against inevitable viewpoint discrimination.”

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.  Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.


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