Virginia Revokes License Plates Featuring Confederate Flag

405136 02: A Sample Virginia Licence Plate Containing The Logo Of The Sons Of Confederate Veterans, Which Incorporates The Confederate Battle Flag, Is Shown May 8, 2002 In Richmond, Va. A Federal Appeals Court Ruled Last Week That Virginia Cannot Block The Group From Displaying The Logo On Speciality License Plates. The 4Th U. S. Circuit Court Of Appeals Ruled Against The State's Claim That The Licence Plates Constitute Public Speech And That The State Had The Right To Regulate Which Groups And Designs Are Allowed On Plates That Represent Virginia. Brag Bowling, First Lieutenant Commander Of The Sons Of Confederate Veterans Virginia Division, Said His Group Hopes To Have Their Plates By Mid-Summer.  (Photo By Wayne Scarberry/Getty Images)

Virginia Revokes License Plates Featuring Confederate Flag

DMV will begin recalling existing license plates.

Published August 7, 2015

DANVILLE, Va. (AP) — Virginia has revoked specialty license plates featuring a Confederate battle flag after a federal judge dissolved an injunction allowing the image.

The Department of Motor Vehicles will begin recalling and replacing existing plates, Attorney General Mark Herring's office said Thursday evening in a statement.


U.S. District Judge Jackson L. Kiser had issued an injunction in 2001 that allowed the image of the Confederate flag on specialty plates honoring the Sons of the Confederate Veterans. Kiser said in a Thursday order that his decision is "no longer good law" because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a Texas case that said specialty license plates represent the state's speech, and not the driver's speech.

The DMV will work with the Sons of Confederate Veterans to design new plates. Once the plates are manufactured, they will be sent to affected motorists, DMV spokeswoman Brandi Brubaker told The Virginian-Pilot.

"We're working as quickly as possible to get this done," Brubaker said.

Affected motorists also will be sent envelopes addressed to the DMV asking them to return the existing plates to the state for recycling.

In 1999, the General Assembly authorized the plates but prohibited any logo on the design. The Sons of Confederate Veterans sued, and Kiser sided with the group. The decision was upheld by a federal appeals court.

Herring's office asked Kiser to dissolve the injunction after Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in June that he would move to have the plates phased out.

"The Commonwealth's rationale for singling out SCV for different treatment is no longer relevant," the judge's order said. "According to the Supreme Court, the Commonwealth is free to treat SCV differently from all other specialty groups. Because the underlying injunction violates that right, I have no choice but to dissolve it."

Debate about Confederate symbols gained new traction after the June 17 mass shooting of nine blackworshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in what police say was an attack motivated by racial hatred. The white man charged in the slayings had posed with a Confederate battle flag in photos posted online before the killings.

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(Photo: Wayne Scarberry/Getty Images)

Written by Associated Press


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