The Week That Was 

Debating abortions

Debating abortions

The Sons of Confederate Veterans sued the state demanding specialty license plates. The group’s members claimed state lawmakers violated their First Amendment rights by refusing to authorize their car tags. That bill died in a House committee this year. But the House later approved three special tags honoring African American culture. “Speech, whether it be a logo on a license plate or a conversation in a public park, is protected by the U.S. Constitution,” the group’s lawyer, Ron Rissler, says. “If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not censor speech that some in society find offensive or disagreeable.”

The University of Tennessee spent $33,000 to mail alumni 143,000 brochures bemoaning the state of the school’s finances. But officials say the brochures, which are part of the campaign for state tax reform, were paid for by the sale of university sports merchandise. “No state or student money was involved,” university president J. Wade Gilley says.

The state Supreme Court heard arguments over whether to invalidate statutes restricting abortions in Tennessee. The laws require women seeking an abortion to obtain counseling from a physician on the availability of adoption services, and then wait at least two days before undergoing the procedure. Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit to throw out the laws, and they aren’t being enforced until the court issues its ruling.

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