An Arizona agency wrongly denied an anti-abortion group permission to print its message "Choose Life" on license plates, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.
The Arizona License Plate Commission allows nonprofit groups to highlight their cause on license plates, but the commission in 2002 and 2003 denied the Arizona Life Coalition permission for a specialty plate with the "Choose Life" slogan.
The Arizona Life Coalition alleged that the denial violated its First Amendment rights to free speech, and a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.
"Nowhere does the statute create objective criteria for limiting 'controversial' material, and nowhere does the statute prohibit speech related to abortion," Judge Richard Tallman wrote. "The commission ignored its statutory mandate and acted unreasonably in violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution."