Federal judge upholds ban on new Confederate flag plates, deciding what happens to existing plates

This Thursday May 2, 2002 file photo shows a sample of the Sons of Confederate Veterans specialty Virginia state license plate in Richmond, Va. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Tuesday, June 23, 2015 that he's moving to have the Confederate flag banished from state license plates in the wake of a massacre at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Mark Gormus/Richmond Times Dispatch via AP)

DANVILLE, Va. (WSLS 10) – A federal judge decided Friday to uphold Virginia’s ban on issuing any new license plates with the Confederate flag.

U.S. District Judge Jackson Kiser said he will do some research before he decides if he will issue an order for license plates with the flag already on vehicles to be replaced. The judge will ask for input from the DMV on how the process of retrieving license plates would work and what would happen if someone refused to return a plate.

According to a representative with the Attorney General’s Office, it could be weeks before the judge would issue such an order.

Judge Kiser previously placed an injunction that forced Virginia to issue Confederate flag license plates after the Sons of Confederate Veterans sued the state and argued banning the plates infringed on the group’s First Amendment right to free speech.

The DMV said it is making preparations for the possibility of existing plates needing to be replaced, according to the attorney general.

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