RICHMOND, Va. – Attorneys are challenging Virginia’s recall of banished license plates bearing the image of a Confederate battle flag. The challenge was filed in state court on behalf of Leonard Tracy Clary, Virginia Division commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, his attorneys said Thursday. While a federal judge ruled the state could outlaw the plates, the filing in Brunswick Circuit Court takes aim at the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and its recall of the commemorative plates in exchange for the issuance of new plates. In June, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced he would move to phase out the plates with the battle flag, calling the image “unnecessarily divisive and hurtful.” The plates have not been issued since.
McAuliffe’s decision came after the slayings of nine African-Americans in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and a week after the Supreme Court ruled that Texas could reject a specialized license plate featuring the Confederate flag. The suspect in the Charleston shooting had been seen in photographs posing with a Confederate flag.