WASHINGTON – Texas commemorates the Confederacy in many ways, from an annual celebration of Confederate Heroes Day each January to monuments on the grounds of the State Capitol in Austin. Among the memorials is one that has stood for more than a century, bearing an image of the Confederate battle flag etched in marble.
But you're out of luck if you want to put that flag on your license plate. Texas says that would be offensive.
Now the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether the state can refuse to issue a license plate featuring the battle flag without violating the free-speech rights of Texans who want one. The justices hear arguments Monday in a challenge brought by the Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The group sued over the state's decision not to authorize its proposed license plate with its logo bearing the battle flag, similar to plates issued by nine other states.
A state motor vehicle board rejected the application because of concerns it would offend Texans who believe the flag is a racially charged symbol of repression. On the same day, the board approved a plate honoring the nation's first black Army units, the Buffalo Soldiers, despite objections from American Indians over the units' roles in fighting Indian tribes in the West in the late 1800s.