Friday, December 12, 2008

Federal Court Preliminarily Enjoins South Carolina "I Believe" Plates

A South Carolina federal district court has issued a preliminary injunction barring the state of South Carolina from further advertising, distribution or production of its controversial "I Believe" license plate. In Summers v. Adams, (D SC, Dec. 11, 2008), the court found that plaintiffs have standing and had made a strong showing of the likelihood of success on their Establishment Clause challenge to the special plates. The plates feature the words "I Believe" with a cross superimposed on a stained glass window. The court said it was unlikely that the "I Believe Act" which authorized the plates passed any of the three prongs of the Lemon test. Defendants in the case were the Director of Motor Vehicles, as well as the Director of the Department of Corrections since the plates are apparently made in state prisons. A release from Americans United (which filed the case) applauding the ruling also has links to some of the briefs and pleadings. (See prior related posting.)