On July 31, US District Judge Jackson Kiser lifted a 14-year injunction barring the state of Virginia from banning Confederate flag license plates.
State legislators had originally banned the plates in 1999, but Kiser blocked the ban in 2001.
Now, amid the anti-Confederacy hysteria sweeping certain parts of the country—and a Supreme Court case regarding Texas that found “license plates are a government function and not individual free speech protected by the Constitution”—Kiser has reversed his action.
According to the Virginia Pilot, Attorney General Mark Herring released a statement praising the decision: “This ruling will allow Virginia to remove a symbol of oppression and injustice from public display on its license plates. Virginia state government does not have to and will not endorse such a divisive symbol.”
License plates with the Confederate flag logo were originally requested by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and Kiser’s decision to lift the injunction provided no clue as to what will happen to the “1,691 motorists who [already] have the specialty tags.” Herring’s office expects Kiser “to address that issue in his written order, which will come later.”
On August 1, Breitbart News reported that hundreds upon hundreds of citizens rallied at Georgia’s Stone Mountain Confederate memorial in support of the Confederate flag. Thomas Jewell, a black man who helped organize the rally, acknowledged that some people have misrepresented the flag—attaching movements and meanings to it that don’t belong. He said, “If you look a little deeper, you’ll find out what it was all about. The flag was never meant to be racist. It’s a heritage thing. It’s a Southern thing.”
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