A big fuss over the First Amendment

Via National Law Journal (Subscription required):

Befitting the First Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court’s two major free speech decisions issued on Thursday prompted strong and conflicting reaction on both sides in both cases.

In Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans, a divided court rejected a First Amendment claim and said Texas can keep the Confederate flag off the specialty license plates it sells to ­drivers. The 5-4 majority said Texas can do so because the specialty plates are a form of government speech. The court has used that category in the past to give government the leeway to pick and choose its messages — something it could not do if the speech were deemed private.

“This ruling sanctions total government censorship,” John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute said. “We are witnessing an elitist philosophy at play, one shared by both the extreme left and the extreme right, which aims to stifle all expression that doesn’t fit within their parameters of what they consider to be ‘acceptable’ speech.”