South Carolina License Plates
South Carolina is moving forward with plans to issue “I Believe” license plates, complete with an image of the Cross and a stained glass window. Here’s an image of the plate
According to the New York Times, South Carolina has a process by which private groups can “sponsor” a specialty plate, and a number of disparate groups have opted to do so. Had this plate been created by a private sponsor, I think it would arguably pass constitutional muster. The state, in such a case, would merely be offering its plates as a sort of open forum for the expression of any number of private commitments, religious and secular (and even anti-religious). But by taking the initiative to direct the department of licensing to create the plate, the state has, I think, crossed the line into sectarian advocacy. Expect a successful constitutional challenge to this, followed by much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Religious Right. Of course, that’s half the point, right?