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Thread: PA Choose Life

  1. #1
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    PA Choose Life

    Driving into work today, I spotted a Pennsylvania license plate I hadn't seen before - PA Choose Life. The plate colors are the standard white base, with yellow and blue enhancements. Along the bottom of the plate it says PA Choose Life and on the left side is a cartoon picture (as if drawn in crayon) of two children (faces only). There are 5 digits in the plate, which mean that there could be 100,000 of these on the road. The car with the plate was number 00231.

    My question is: Does this plate cross any line politically or socially with respect to private and public life?

    My gut response is that the State should not be engaged or promoting a particular view. How is this any different than the state putting billboards everywhere that says "Abortion is wrong"? What's next: plates that say Jesus Lives?
    Only what can happen does happen. ~Watchmen
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  2. #2
    I've been given a "timeout"

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    Re: PA Choose Life

    I thought it was a reference to the summation of that monolouge from trainspotters. How do you know the fellow wasn't a druggie?

  3. #3
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    Re: PA Choose Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Turtleflipper View Post
    I thought it was a reference to the summation of that monolouge from trainspotters. How do you know the fellow wasn't a druggie?
    We already have a D.A.R.E. plate for the druggies. If two joints or a bong were pictured on the Choose Life plate then you might be on to something.
    Only what can happen does happen. ~Watchmen
    When the Standard is defined you will know how right or wrong you are.
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  4. #4
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    Re: PA Choose Life

    Quote Originally Posted by snackboy View Post
    Driving into work today, I spotted a Pennsylvania license plate I hadn't seen before - PA Choose Life. The plate colors are the standard white base, with yellow and blue enhancements. Along the bottom of the plate it says PA Choose Life and on the left side is a cartoon picture (as if drawn in crayon) of two children (faces only). There are 5 digits in the plate, which mean that there could be 100,000 of these on the road. The car with the plate was number 00231.

    My question is: Does this plate cross any line politically or socially with respect to private and public life?

    My gut response is that the State should not be engaged or promoting a particular view. How is this any different than the state putting billboards everywhere that says "Abortion is wrong"? What's next: plates that say Jesus Lives?
    Not a fan of this course of action by the government, but as of right now I cannot say that it directly crossed a line.


    Do I think it is good? Not in the least; do I think that courses of action like this should be looked into by the government and/or legislatures? Yes, actually, I do. It seems a superfluous promotion of one view over another, and a direct waste of resources to give X group more say --more governmental say, in fact-- over another.

    I think this has potential to become Unconstitutional, but we'll see.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

  5. #5
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    Re: PA Choose Life

    I think "vanity" license plates are ridiculous and are borderline problematic in the first place. Government issued license plates should all look the same, should have the same number of characters, and shouldn't be dolled up at the whim of the car owners. It's not like I can walk into the DMV and ask for the New York Yankees driver's license. Why can I get a New York Yankees license plate when that's similarly important to the identification of the vehicle?

    As for the constitutionality of the design in question. Yeah, I dunno, at the very least it's a tough call. If I were leading the state DMV I probably wouldn't have those plates since I think it opens up the possibility for litigation.
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  6. #6
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    Re: PA Choose Life

    It's not a tough call at all... My state provides plates that says "In god we trust." If my state doesn't also offer plates that promote an atheist worldview, then they are in volation of the separation clause. The "in god we trust" plate is not an "organizational" plate... I would think, by my own understanding, this would be a violation.

    In the case of the PA Right to Life plate, it IS an organization. The only requirement of the state with regard to organizational plates is that they do not attempt to stiffle organizations of opposing viewpoints by refusing them the same. I would have to do a great deal more research to know whether or not such has been challenged in the court... But for the time being, I'd say no... Such a plate is not in violation of the first amendment.
    "And that, my lord, is how we know the Earth to be banana-shaped." ~ Monty Python


  7. #7
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    Re: PA Choose Life

    Quote Originally Posted by ladyphoenix View Post
    It's not a tough call at all... My state provides plates that says "In god we trust." If my state doesn't also offer plates that promote an atheist worldview, then they are in volation of the separation clause. The "in god we trust" plate is not an "organizational" plate... I would think, by my own understanding, this would be a violation.

    In the case of the PA Right to Life plate, it IS an organization. The only requirement of the state with regard to organizational plates is that they do not attempt to stiffle organizations of opposing viewpoints by refusing them the same. I would have to do a great deal more research to know whether or not such has been challenged in the court... But for the time being, I'd say no... Such a plate is not in violation of the first amendment.
    There seems to be some confusion as what the actual organization is that represents this plate. Many organizations are charging $40+ to them for the plate, not PennDOT. They pass $24 to PennDOT who then sends you plate, and the organization keeps the rest as a donation.

    It would seem that among the 170 organizations that have a specialized plate, i.e. Colleges, Vet groups, etc, the PA Choose Life plate does not represent a specific organization, thus implicitly becomes a statement rather than a membership.

    It should be noted that Planned Parenthood has a PA plate as well. However, Planned Parenthood is a specific organization, whereas PA Choose Life is not.
    Only what can happen does happen. ~Watchmen
    When the Standard is defined you will know how right or wrong you are.
    electricShares - a work in progress

  8. #8
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    Re: PA Choose Life

    I don't see the problem with citizens voicing an opinion. I think that if the state wants to allow personalized plates, or a vote on what new plate should come out.. Go for it.
    You want a plate that says "Abortions are great" .. Write your Rep in wherever.
    After all, what is wrong with a sign even if it is recognized by the state for Identification purposes?

    Though I would also go for the Plates are for ID purpose only... not speech. Get a bumper sticker for that.
    To serve man.

  9. #9
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    Re: PA Choose Life

    Quote Originally Posted by phrique View Post
    I think "vanity" license plates are ridiculous and are borderline problematic in the first place.
    Why? The government makes (in most cases) a bit more money, the identification of the car is still easily possible. I'm not sure what the issue is.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
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