CHICAGO, January 26, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Last Friday, a ruling was handed down from the Northern Illinois District Court allowing the pro-adoption message “Choose Life” to be an option for specialty license plates in the State of Illinois. Citing First Amendment protection, Judge David Coar ruled in favor of Choose Life Illinois (CLI), explaining that their message is constitutionally entitled to be on Illinois license plates.
In Judge Coar’s Memorandum it states that “…the Secretary of State is ordered to issue the ‘Choose Life’ plates.” CLI, a pro-adoption organization, had filed the lawsuit against the Secretary of State, Jesse White, claiming that the process by which the “Choose Life” specialty license plate was disapproved in Illinois was “viewpoint discriminatory” in violation of the First Amendment and, therefore, unconstitutional.
CLI also stated that certain members of the Illinois General Assembly had demonstrated anti-adoption prejudice during the last two legislative sessions by placing political roadblocks in the way of a bill that would have added the “Choose Life” specialty license plate to the 60 specialty plate options currently available to Illinois citizens.
Prior to the courts ruling, CLI had received over 25,000 signatures from private citizens, petitioning the legislature to allow the “Choose Life” message. Illinois adoption advocate, Jim Finnegan, head of the group who filed the lawsuit. In addition, Chicago Bears owner Virginia McCaskey, who is a member of the Choose Life Board of Directors, was also one of the fifteen plaintiffs in the case.
Tom Brejcha, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Society commented, “We applaud Judge Coar’s decision as a ringing endorsement of the First Amendment rights of all Illinois citizens and as very welcome news for the cause of adoption in Illinois. Many more children will enjoy the gift of life in loving families thanks to Judge Coar’s ruling.” Proceeds from the sale of the specialty plates will go to pro-adoption groups.
Working with Brejcha on the case were co-counsel, Christopher Henning, also of Thomas More Society in Chicago, and attorneys Alan Untereiner and Damon Taaffe of the Washington, D.C. law firm, Robbins, Russel, Englert, Orseck & Untereiner, LLP, and Tim Kelly of Appel & Kelly, Ltd.