Arizona, November 20, 2008 ( — A federal court on Wednesday ordered the Arizona License Plate Commission to approve a specialty license plate featuring the words “Choose Life.” 

Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund and the Center for Arizona Policy represented the applicants for the plates, the Arizona Life Coalition.

“Pro-life groups shouldn’t be discriminated against for expressing their beliefs,” said ADF Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb.  “Many other groups have been allowed to participate in the Arizona specialty plate program.  The commission had no legitimate reason to selectively exclude this group.  We’re pleased that the plates will soon be available to the public.”

The Arizona Life Coalition, a 100,000-member organization, applied for a specialty license plate with the slogan “Choose Life” in 2002.  The Arizona License Plate Commission, which oversees such requests, denied the application.

In September 2003, ADF attorneys filed suit jointly with the Center for Arizona Policy on behalf of the coalition.  In January 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled in Arizona Life Coalition v. Stanton that the commission had violated Life Coalition’s First Amendment right to free speech when the commission denied the request to create the license plate.  The commission appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the high court declined to hear the case (

According to the judgment issued Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Paul G. Rosenblatt, “Defendants shall hold a formal meeting in their official capacity as the Arizona License Plate Commission no later than January 23, 2009.  At that meeting, Defendants shall approve Plaintiffs’ application of September 27, 2002, for a specialty license plate.”

The full text of the judgment issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in Arizona Life Coalition v. Stanton is available at