ROLL TIDE, BUT NOT WITH THESE PLATES
Nathan Kirk is an Alabama man who is seeing red these days after the Alabama Department of Revenue sent him a letter demanding that he give up his current license plate. The plate proudly features the “don’t tread on me” logo, along with the letters “LGBFJB.” The state apparently assumes that the letters stand for “Let’s Go Brandon F**K Joe Biden.” Given that the molding that holds the plate to his pickup truck says “Let’s Go Brandon,” that is not an unreasonable assumption.
“Let’s go Brandon” is a euphemism for “F**K Joe Biden.” For Mr. Kirk and his buddies this passes for clever. Apparently, the state of Alabama doesn’t want in on the joke.
Citing his extensive knowledge of Constitutional law, Mr. Kirk was quoted in AL.com accordingly: “Most people only think it’s free speech if it only represents a certain aspect of the country or a certain portion of the country, and that’s not what the First Amendment is about. . . . I have the right to put a tag on my vehicle and it can say what I want it to say.”
I hate to nitpick here, but Mr. Kirk is completely wrong. In a 2015 case the United States Supreme Court held that the state of Texas could deny a specialty license plate to the Sons of the Confederate Veterans without violating the First Amendment. The basis for the holding was that the license plate, which is issued by the state government, is government speech, not the speech of the driver. And the government itself has First Amendment rights as to its own speech. So it can choose what it wants to say, and what it doesn’t want to say.
Apparently, the state has decided to be more civil than Mr. Kirk. That is, I am sure, disappointing, but it is the law. One more thing for Mr. Kirk to be angry about.