Supreme Court justices hear free speech dispute over confederate flag license plates

The Supreme Court is weighing a free-speech challenge to Texas’s refusal to issue a license plate bearing the Confederate battle flag.

Specialty plates are big business in Texas, where drivers spent $17.6million last year to choose from among more than 350 messages the state allows.

The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles says nearly 877,000 vehicles among more than 19million cars, pickup trucks and motorcycles registered in Texas carry a specialty plate.

But a state motor vehicle board turned down a request by the Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans for a license plate with its logo bearing the battle flag, similar to plates issued by eight other states that were members of the Confederacy, as well as Maryland…