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Judge Says Constitution Protects Confederate Flag

Tue., Feb. 25, 1997

The Confederate battle flag on special Maryland license plates is protected by the First Amendment and cannot be banned, a federal judge ruled Monday.

U.S. District Judge Frederic Smalkin agreed with the Sons of Confederate Veterans that the Motor Vehicle Administration should not have recalled the plates after complaints from blacks, who said the flag is offensive.

“The court just made it real clear you can’t discriminate against this group because of its political viewpoint,” said David Melton, an attorney who represented the confederate group.

Only one logo has been rejected since the program started in 1990, said MVA spokeswoman Marilyn Corbett. It depicted a naked Buddha to represent the Royal Order of the Jesters.


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