Sons of Confederate Veterans and Virginia headed to court over license plates

Sons of Confederate Veterans and Virginia headed to court over license plates

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The battle between the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles will be heard in a courtroom.

A District Court judge in Danville will hear the motion by the Sons of Confederate Veterans on July 31 at 11 a.m., according to a press release from the organization. Lawyers from the national organization and Virginia division filed papers in court in response to a DMV motion to throw out earlier decisions which allowed the confederate flag to appear on the plates statewide.

Approximately 1,600 license plates in Virginia currently show the Confederate Flag, but Gov. Terry McAuliffe has ordered those plates to be replaced with others which do not show the logo.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans won the right to display the Confederate Battle flag-themed logo in 2001 in District Court and affirmed in a 2002 decision in the US Court of Appeals. Those cases came forward after the General Assembly voted in 1999 to approve a specialty plate for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, but only without the logo.

Gov. McAuliffe referenced a US Supreme Court ruling on a Texas case when issuing his decision in June to have the specialty license plates recalled. The Texas case also involved the issuing and display of Sons of Confederate Veterans specialty plates with the accompanying logo. The Commander of the Virginia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans argues the DMV and Governor do not have authority to recall the plates without a court order.

"The Governor on his authority alone does not have the power to demand license plates off of the street. In fact, the Walker decision [in Texas] does not automatically remove the Virginia SCV's logo either," said Fred D. Taylor, an attorney for the Sons of Confederate Veterans. "When comparing the two cases, the procedure for issuing specialty license plates is so vastly different between Texas and Virginia that there is an important legal question as to whether the U.S. Supreme Court's Walker decision even applies here."

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