Four months after Dylann Storm Roof killed nine parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and put the Confederate battle flag back in the spotlight, a third state has banished the image from its license plates.
U.S. District Court of Maryland judge Marvin J. Garbis ruled that Maryland can begin phasing out its Sons of Confederate Veterans plates on November 17. Garbis’ order lifts a 18-year-old injunction that prevented the state from recalling the tags on the grounds of free speech. But in June, the Supreme Court said in Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans that the government has the right to reject specialty plate designs, making Texas the first state to eliminate them. Virginia followed in August.
The latest reconsideration came at the request of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. “I look forward to the day when these plates are no longer on the road,” Frosh said in a statement. “This flag is a painful symbol that divides us, conjuring images of hate and subjugation. It has no place in any contemporary government use.”
The plates currently on the road will be recalled and they will no longer be produced.