Maryland will soon begin recalling license plates with the Confederate flag on them, after a federal judge on Thursday lifted an 18-year-old injunction keeping them in circulation, Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said.
The state was stymied in its attempts to pull the Sons of Confederate Veterans plates in the 1990s when the U.S. District Court ruled the tags were protected as free speech under the First Amendment. But in June, the Supreme Court ruled that license plates were a form of government speech and could be rejected by states.
U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis responded to a request by Frosh and Gov. Larry Hogan, and ordered the injunction be lifted. The order goes into effect on Nov. 17, but it's unclear when the recall will begin.
Owners of the Confederate plates will be contacted by the Motor Vehicle Administration about the recall.
"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."