Cressman v. Thompson, et al, No. 12-6151 (10th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Appellant Keith Cressman objected to the image on the standard Oklahoma license plate. He believed the image of a Native American shooting an arrow toward the sky (a depiction of a sculpture entitled "Sacred Rain Arrow") was religious speech he did not believe in and did not want to display on his vehicle. Oklahoma imposes sanctions for covering the image, or a separate fee for a vanity plate that has no image. Because he must either display the image or pay an additional fee, Appellant argued speech was being imposed on him in violation of his First Amendment rights. Upon review, the Tenth Circuit reversed and remanded the district court who initially dismissed Appellant's complaint: (1) the image on the license plates is ideological, symbolic speech that qualified for First Amendment protection; and (2) the district court erred by assuming or speculating about certain facts rather than accepting them as true for consideration of Appellant's motion to dismiss. The case was remanded for further proceedings.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on June 12, 2013.