As TPM has reported, a number of Confederate groups across the country have been pushing proposals for commemorative confederate license plates. John Adams, First Lt. Commander of Florida’s Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter, wants his state to be next.
Adams told TPM the SCV has been pursuing a Confederate license plate since 2004, in hopes of selling them to raise money for the organization.
The SCV surveyed the state and created a financial and marketing plan, Adams said, all steps needed to propose the plate to the legislature.
But the legislature refused to consider the license plate in committee, he said.
“The only plates that had been approved were things they wanted to promote,” Adams said. “Apparently they didn’t want to promote us.”
Fox News’ report goes so far as calling the move a snub:
This snub, even as the state, said Adams, allowed other drivers “self-expression” — including supporters of sea turtles and dolphins. All of Florida’s sports teams, including the Rays and the Heat, have license plates. There are even state plates that advocate for home ownership and family values. One plate reads simply “Trust God.”
Florida state Rep. Geraldine Thompson (D) told Fox News the proposed license plate sends the wrong message to Florida and its visitors.
“It’s a symbol of oppression,” she said. “It’s a symbol of slavery. And it’s not something that I think we should perpetuate.”
Adams filed a federal lawsuit, and a judge ruled March 30 that state’s process of approving license plates gives it “unfettered discretion to engage in viewpoint discrimination,” according to Fox’s report.
Rep. Thompson says the ruling only says “we have to make the process fair and equal,” and members of Florida’s black legislative caucus are planning on fighting the proposed plate. Messages left with Florida’s Conference of Black State Legislators and Thompson’s office were not immediately returned.
Adams is now attempting to have the court strike the entire statute, which he says will “effectively end the license plate program.”
So why is he so crazy about this license plate?
“Something like a license plate is a personal statement,” Adams said. “It’s a statement of one’s pride and their heritage. It’s with you wherever you go.”
“It’s an attractive tag, if i might say so myself,” he added.
Adams admits the political debate over these license plates makes good headlines, but “no one says a word about it” once it’s passed.
It’s “much ado about nothing,” he said.
Here’s a picture of the proposed license plate:
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com