ACLU Ends Legal Challenge Against Ohio "Choose Life" License Plate

Sep 20, 2006

Cleveland, OH - The ACLU, on behalf of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), voluntarily dismissed its case against the "Choose Life" license plate in Ohio, ending all legal challenges against the license plate. The case was NARAL v. Taft which sought to block the sale of the "Choose Life" specialty license plate, along with the entire system of specialty and vanity license plates for Ohio. Liberty Counsel intervened in the case on behalf of "Choose Life" license plate owners and pregnancy and adoption services providers.

Anyone who purchases a "Choose Life" plate pays an additional fee to obtain the plate. Those funds are used to support local crisis pregnancy centers or other organizations that promote adoption. The law prohibits funds generated from the proceeds of the plate to go to any entity that provides, promotes, or refers for abortion.

A district court had earlier dismissed the ACLU's case against the license plate, finding that the lawsuit was barred by the Tax Injunction Act, meaning that the ACLU should have brought its case in the state and not federal court. The ACLU appealed the case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. While the case was on appeal, the Sixth Circuit decided the case of ACLU v. Bredesen which was a challenge to Tennessee's "Choose Life" license plate. Liberty Counsel filed a brief before the Sixth Circuit in the Bredesen case, arguing that the Tennessee "Choose Life" plate was constitutional. The Sixth Circuit agreed that the "Choose Life" plate was constitutional, and the Tennessee lawsuit was not barred by the Tax Injunction Act. Recognizing that its Ohio lawsuit was doomed to the same fate before the same court, the ACLU dismissed its challenge against the Ohio "Choose Life" license plate.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, is pleased the ACLU dismissed the appeal. "The ACLU realized that it didn't have a prayer in its case against the Ohio "Choose Life" license plate. Dismissing the case against the "Choose Life" license plate was the first sound legal strategy move the ACLU made in this case. "Choose Life" license plates have raised millions of dollars for adoption and pregnancy services across the country. This is a vital and constitutional program."

Liberty Counsel has successfully defended "Choose Life" license plates across the nation, including Florida's "Choose Life" license plate. Liberty Counsel also defended "Choose Life" license plates in Arkansas and Tennessee.