Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Separation of Church & State on South Carolina's 'Plate'

Honk if you believe in the First Amendment!

"TUOL" admits this post has nothing to do with media law or journalism, but couldn't resist as  it does involve the 1st Amendment and another politician going off the rails in South Carolina, where "Laughingstock" has supplanted Democrat and Republican as state leaders' party affiliation of choice.

The Associated Press today reports on the decision of U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina Judge Cameron Currie in Rev. Dr. Thomas A. Summers et al. v. Marcia S. Adams et al (Civil Action No. 3:08-2265-CMC), which held as unconstitutional  South Carolina's issuance of license plates depicting a cross in front of a stained glass window with the phrase: "I Believe." In his 57-page opinion on the Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment, Judge Currie found the plate a violation of the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment that prohibits the government from endorsing a particular religion.

South Carolina's Lt. Gov. Andrew Bauer, who shepherded the specialty plate bill through the legislature in 2008, decried the decision by "a liberal judge who was appointed by Bill Clinton." The case was brought by a handful of religious leaders of various denominations against the directors of the state's Division of Motor Vehicles  and Department of Corrections. The motto that appears on South Carolina's official license plates is "Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places," which not only doesn't offend anyone, but also rhymes.

Lt. Gov. Bauer at least temporarily trumps Rep. Joe "You Lie" Wilson and Gov. Mark "Argentina Wanderer" Sanford as the Palmetto State's most embarrassing elected official.  "TUOL" wonders if the now-banned "I Believe" license plate only fits vehicles manufactured in the 1950s that could only drive in Reverse.

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1 comment:

  1. To paraphrase a James Taylor song, "I'm going to Carolina in my swine."