Remember my post a few weeks ago about the new “In God We Trust” license plates in Indiana and how the state is not charging extra for them as they do for other specialty plates? The ACLU has filed suit on behalf of an Indiana resident challenging that fact on establishment clause grounds. It’s an interesting case and there are really solid arguments to be made on both sides. They can be summed up easily, as Howard Friedman did:
ACLU attorney Ken Falk says that waiver of the fee amounts to promotion of the religious-themed plate by the state. However Rep. Woody Burton who sponsored the legislation creating the plate says that no added fee is charged because these plates are stock items that do not generate financial support for any particular group.
Indeed, if those plates did funnel money to a religious group as other specialty plates do then that might well be considered unconstitutional. So are they violating the establishment clause or avoiding a violation of it? Interesting legal question that would make a great hypothetical in a con law class.